In recent years, the deterioration of the environment has become a top concern in China; it will remain central to the public debate as urban areas continue to expand and household incomes grow steadily. This paper investigates the factors that influence and shape the satisfaction of urban residents with the local air and water quality in Chinese cities by using a unique dataset collected through an interview survey with about 25,000 participants. The study shows that a respondent’s true rating could be systematically different from his stated choice in the survey; the latter may be affected by various reasons. Empirical results reveal that respondents have a well-marked tendency to underreport their level of satisfaction. Although the survey found that about 51% and 44% of the respondents are satisfied with local air and water quality, respectively, study results show that 57% and 58% of them are actually satisfied. In addition, a respondent’s true level of satisfaction is more likely to be lower if the individual is male and younger. Educational attainment is also correlated to a respondent’s level of satisfaction.
Environmental Satisfaction among Residents in Chinese Cities