PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (5): 632-643.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.05.010

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Driving factors and spatiotemporal differentiation of human well-being change in China

Shengyun WANG1,2()   

  1. 1. Research Center of Central China Economic and Social Development, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330047, China
    2. School of Economics and Management, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330031, China
  • Accepted:2015-11-01 Online:2016-05-27 Published:2016-05-27
  • Supported by:
    Natural Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41361027;Youth Program of National Social Science Foundation of China, No.12CJL062;The Bidding Project of Economic and Social Development Research Center of Central China in Nanchang University, 2016


By incorporating per capita carbon emission factor into human development index (HDI), this study proposed a carbon emission sensitive human well-being index (HWI) framework. By using this framework, we performed quantitative evaluations of change and regional patterns of human well-being in China from 1980 to 2010. The driving factors and spatiotemporal differentiation and change of human well-being were analyzed by logarithmic mean divisia index (LMDI) method. The results show that: (1) With over 30 years of reform and opening up, human well-being in China has been enormous increased and now is heading towards a high level compared to the global average. At the same time, however, carbon emission sensitive human well-being index of China presented an inverted U-shaped trend, which suggests that the environmental costs were also rising. (2) At the national level, the improvement of human well-being from 1980 to 2010 was mainly dependent on economic growth and limited by ecological efficiency. Before 2000, the change of human well-being was driven by economic growth together with technological advancement, but after 2000 the improvement was mainly dominated by the effect of economic growth. (3) Economic growth, technological advancement, and ecological efficiency were the main factors that jointly affected the change of human well-being at the regional level. Among these factors, economic growth and technological advancement were key driving forces but ecological efficiency was a main constraining force. Human well-being improvement in eastern China was mainly driven by technological advancement and economic efficiency, and in central, western, and northeastern China it was driven by the economic growth factor. (4) At the provincial level, driving factors of human well-being change can be divided into four types: in Shanghai, the change was mainly driven by technological advancement effect and in Jiangxi, Hunan, Sichuan, and Gansu it was economic growth that drove the change. In Beijing, ecological efficiency effect plus technological advancement effect led to the improvement in human well-being, and in other provinces the driving factors were economic growth and technological advancement. (5) We suggest that low-carbon human development strategy should be implemented to reverse the negative impact of low ecological efficiency. Economic development-driven human well-being improvement should be changed and more attention should be paid to advance technology development and reduce the negative effect of low ecological efficiency in China.

Key words: human well-being, carbon emission, regional disparity, driving factor, spatiotemporal differentiation