Life expectancy of
Ecological footprint of
The Chinese landscape covers a vast and diverse area of land, and is home to the world’s largest population. Its upper-middle-income economy is largely based on trading and its manufacturing and exports industries. China ranks 72nd in the Happy Planet Index results.
What’s going well?
China performs reasonably well on both life expectancy and wellbeing. It’s Ecological Footprint, while far beyond environmental limits, is just half that of the USA’s.
China’s health and education outcomes have improved steadily because of government reforms over the last 50 years. A recent 3-year initiative resulted in 95% of China’s population having basic health insurance coverage by 2011. And in 2010, 94% of the population over age 15 were literate, compared to just 20% in 1950.
What’s not going well?
China is often criticised for low levels of political freedom, which manifest as censorship of political speech, information and the internet. In 2014, China ranked 175th out of 180 countries in the Annual World Press Freedom Index.
Until 2015, China was the world’s fastest-growing major economy, which has taken an environmental toll. It suffers from severe pollution – a factor widely known to negatively impact not just health, but also wellbeing. On top of these issues, income inequality is rife with about a third of China's wealth held by 1% of citizens.
If China continues to grow at the rate it has been, it must address these issues to mitigate the negative socioeconomic and environmental impacts.
Photo credit: CC trioptikmal