1st Edition

China’s Middle Class The New Social Stratum

Edited By Li Youmei Copyright 2021
    286 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    286 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is a collection of empirical studies on China’s middle class from top-ranking Chinese sociologists, discussing this newly identified social stratum with regard to the basic concept and scope of the group, its functions, formation, identity, consumption, behavior patterns and value system. As the first study of its kind, the analysis of most chapters is based on a rich body of empirical data gathered from rigorous large-scale surveys designed specifically for the Chinese middle class across megacities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The book traces the complex and dynamic formation process of China’s middle class from different perspectives while dealing with issues of social concern such as “rigid social stratification”. The findings shed light on the underlying logic of structural change in Chinese society over several recent decades, with significant policy implications.

    The book will attract sociologists, students and policymakers interested in social structure, social transformation and middle-income groups in China.

    Part 1: Concept, Function and Scope of the Middle Class

    1. The Emergence of the Concept of the Middle-income Group and its Impact on the Development of Chinese Society

    Li Chunling

    2. “White Collar” Workers in the Social Structure and their Function in Society: Taking Post-1980’s Shanghai as an Example

    Li Youmei

    3. Occupational Characteristics of the Middle-income Group in China’s Megacities

    Liang Yucheng and Jia Xiaoshuang

    Part 2: Formation and Identity of the Middle Class

    Chapter 4 Trends and Structural Analysis of the Middle-income Group (2006-2015)

    Tian Feng

    5. Housing and the Class Identity of Urban Residents: Based on empirical research conducted in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou

    Zhang Haidong and Yang Chengchen

    6. The Social Composition of Private Business Owners in China: Class and Cohort Differences

    Fan Xiaoguang and Lv Peng

    7. A Study on the Income Gap between Urban Household Registrants and Rural Migrant Workers from the Perspective of Occupational Stratification

    Tian Feng

    Part 3: Middle Class Consumption

    8. Expanding the Middle-income Group and Promoting Consumption to Boost the Economy: Research Report on the Shanghai Middle-income Group

    Social Research and Data Center Research Group, Shanghai Academy, Li Peilin and Zhu Di

    9. Consumption Trends of the Middle-income Group (2006-2015)

    Zhu Di

    10. From Emphasizing “Education” to Emphasizing “Supply” : Research Framework and Empirical Analysis of Sustainable Consumption in the Urban Middle Class

    Zhu Di

    11. Market Competition, Collective Consumption and Environmental Quality: Analysis of Urban Residents’ Life Satisfaction and Influencing Factors

    Zhu Di

    Part 4: Behavior and Value System of the Middle Class

    12. A Study on the Sense of National Identity among the Middle Class in China’s Megacities: An Analysis of Tourist Behavior

    Liang Yucheng and Yang Xiaodong

    13. Measurement and Comparative Study of Political Attitude of the New Social Class: Based on Survey Data from Six Provinces and Cities

    Zhang Haidong and Deng Meiling

    14. The Fertility Desire of the Middle Class: An Investigation in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai

    Tian Feng


    Li Youmei is a professor and doctoral supervisor at Shanghai University, and also the president of the Chinese Sociological Association. Her main research interests are organizational sociology and social governance transformation.