China's Optimism: Prosperity Brings Satisfaction--and Hope

  • November 16, 2005

When President Bush arrives in Beijing he will find a nation whose people, despite their limited political freedom, are generally upbeat about their recent personal advancement and highly optimistic about their chances for further progress.

In an analysis of previously unreleased data from Global Attitudes Surveys in the spring of 2005, Pew senior analyst Richard Wike finds that half of those surveyed in major Chinese cities and surrounding areas believe that they have made progress in their lives over the last five years. Even more strikingly, on a composite index of personal optimism, fully 76 percent expect their lives to improve over the next five years.

By these and other measures presented in the report, the Chinese people emerge as world leaders in optimism among surveyed nations, feeling good about themselves and about conditions in their country as well.