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June 13, 2011

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Shanghai's quality of life costs a little more

SHANGHAI ranks second, after Guangzhou, for its quality of life among 30 Chinese provincial capitals and municipalities, according to a report released yesterday.

However, the city ranks 20th in people's satisfaction with the cost of living.

It costs more to live in Shanghai than in most other provincial capitals and municipalities in the country, the report by the Institute of Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Capital University of Economics and Business found.

Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau were not included in the report.

Guangzhou had a Life Quality Index of 64.07, followed by Shanghai's 60.5 and Nanjing's 59.49.

The index is calculated using objective indicators such as per-capita income and inflation rates, as well as subjective indicators provided by residents, such as their opinions on their incomes, living costs, medical care and living environment.

Subjective indicators were weighted at 40 percent in compiling the index, organizers said.

"Shanghai still has a lot to improve, despite its high ranking," said Hu Shoujun, a sociologist at Fudan University.

Hu said the city's traffic problems, house prices and air quality were most in need of improvement.

The city had made great progress because of the World Expo last year and that made it rank among the best in the country, he said.

Hu said it was a good thing for universities to release this kind of ranking to make cities compete with each other to improve people's living standards.

But some residents were skeptical about the ranking.

"Shanghai ranks the second, but we can hardly feel it," was one comment on

Professor Zhang Liancheng, dean of the School of Economics at Beijing's Capital University of Economics and Business, said the satisfaction of urban residents did not seem to match up with the rate at which the country's economy had grown over the past 30 years.

Factors such as soaring inflation, high property prices and the quickening pace of urban life had a negative effect on satisfaction levels, Zhang said.

Beijing had a Life Quality Index of 56.23, eighth out of the 30 cities, the report said.


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