Table 1

Sample characteristics

(Sample N=4442) (Population N=98,355,397)
(Sample N=8905)
(Population N=40,690,149)
P value
Percent or meanPercent or mean
Self-rated health
 Very good9.68%31.31%
Marital status
 Separated/divorced/widowed/never married26.28 %40.21%
Number of living children3.54±0.033.03±0.02<0.001
Living arrangements
 Living with spouse/partner73.26%58.77%<0.001
 Living alone9.80%29.87%
 Living with others without spouse or partner16.95%11.37%
Currently working*45.00%22.79%<0.001
Educational level†
 Less than lower secondary90.87%19.44%<0.001
 Upper secondary and vocational training6.84%30.77%
 No difficulty74.94%91.30%<0.001
 With difficulty25.06%8.70%
Self-reported memory
 Very good3.82%21.00%
Recall summary score5.19±0.079.47±0.05<0.001
Number of mental health problems
High blood pressure46.27%68.28%<0.001
Lung disease21.44%12.06%<0.001
Heart problem25.64%32.46%<0.001
Psychiatric problems2.51%19.09%<0.001
Ever drinking‡46.98%53.52%<0.001
Ever smoking48.88%55.95%<0.001
  • *The question about currently working in the US survey asked the respondents ‘are you doing any work for pay at the present time’. In contrast, the question in the Chinese survey indicated not only the paid work but also the unpaid family business and the time span is specific to the last year, rather than the present time.

  • †Regarding educational level, the three categories in the USA were: less than high school, high school graduate and some college or college and above.

  • ‡Regarding drinking, unlike the USA, China asked the respondent's drinking behaviour in a longer time period (1 year). Also, China had a different list of alcoholic drinks for a respondent to select due to the fact that some types of alcoholic drinks were common in China but not in the other country. For example, white liquor and liang of liquor.