A startling report from Gallup suggests that average Americans may be struggling more than average Chinese when it comes to affording basic necessities like food and shelter. The polling organization conducted surveys in both countries and found that since 2008, the number of struggling Chinese has fallen while the number of struggling Americans has increased.
Six percent of Chinese in 2011 say there have been times in the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to buy food that they or their family needed, down significantly from 16% in 2008. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans saying they did not have money for food in the previous 12 months more than doubled from 9% in 2008 to 19% in 2011.
While it is true that Americans generally consume more and have larger families than their Chinese counterparts, this is still pretty damning evidence of the long-term effects of 2008’s financial crisis. The same trends can be seen when it comes to the housing market.
Chinese are also struggling less to afford adequate shelter. Sixteen percent of Chinese say in 2011 there have been times in the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to provide adequate shelter or housing for themselves and their families. This marks considerable progress since 2008, when 21% of Chinese had trouble providing shelter. Fewer Americans are struggling with housing costs than Chinese, but the number of Americans who are struggling is increasing. Eleven percent of
Americans say there have been times in the past 12 months when they could not afford adequate housing, up from 5% in 2008.
The results of this survey are especially surprising when you consider that rising house prices and inflation are two of the biggest economic woes in China. (However, both house prices and inflation may be on their way down.) Though many urban residents lament that they might never be able to afford a house, it seems, on average, that the situation in China is improving. It’s hard to say the same about the U.S.
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