• Blog
  • Living in Beijing Blogs

City Life Index: are people happier in Beijing or Shanghai?

How do we compare to our biggest rivals?

Yesterday, the results of the Time Out City Life Index crowned Chicago as the best city to be living in at the moment, mainly thanks to its next level food and bar scene, as well as its affordability and residents' penchant for happiness. Beijing ranked a slightly disappointing 22nd place – towards the lower end of the 32-city survey.

Beijing and Shanghai (16th) were the only cities from Mainland China included in the list, with Hong Kong coming in at number 26 and Tokyo (19th) being the second-highest finishing Asian city behind Shanghai. Shangers may have beaten us overall, but how to the breakdowns compare?

Beijingers eat at restaurants and order waimai more often, while people in Shanghai cook for themselves or someone else on a more regular basis. Beijing ren prefer beer as opposed to Shanghai folk who would sooner crack open a bottle of wine. Shanghaiers also sink more cocktails on average and are also more adventurous when it comes to alcoholic alchemy, which we guess speaks to their more developed cocktail bar scene.

Beijingers spend more time doing cultured things like going to the cinema, theatre or gigs, while people in Shanghai go to bars and clubs more often and nurse hangovers more frequently (maybe there's a correlation there...). Shanghai is slightly more active when it comes to doing exercise, but both cities ranked above the yearly average for Asia – up your games Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Bangkok!

There are more singles playing the dating game in Shanghai (these pickup lines may or may not be helping) and people down here also seem to find it considerably easier to make friends and have sex (not necessarily at the same time). However, more singles in Beijing are happy with not being in a relationship, so that's a positive, right..?

46 percent of people in Beijing and 53 percent of people in Shanghai love the neighbourhood they live in, both above the continental average of 43 percent. Shanghai workers earn around 80,000RMB more on average that Beijingers, but also work more hours per week and admit that you need to earn considerably more to live comfortably.

76 percent of Beijing ren enjoy living in their city, while 79 percent of Shanghai residents enjoy living in theirs. People in Shanghai are happier and more of them feel free to truly be themselves on a daily basis, but they are also considerably more stressed, overwhelmed, sleep-deprived and slightly more depressed. So take from that what you will.

Read more

  • 4 out of 5 stars
submit