Since 1979 China has introduced sweeping reforms in the structure of its economy, family planning program, and financial accountability within enterprises and service sector organizations. At the same time, China has entered the world economy, reversing almost 30 years of isolation. The rapid increase in productivity has resulted in higher incomes and an ample food supply. Ongoing changes in disease patterns and health services have accompanied these increases. Changes are occurring at markedly different rates across the country. Post-reform China is facing a range of challenges in health, nutrition, and family planning. Income disparities have increased as coastal areas have become wealthier while the 300 poorest counties remain stagnate. The aging of the population and increased life expectancy have contributed to an increased demand for long-term care systems. Meanwhile, in rural areas economic progress continues to be in direct conflict with family planning goals. China's response to these changing problems is expected to include ongoing policy adjustments in this era of reform.
The survey instruments were designed by an interdisciplinary group of social and biomedical scientists with extensive experience in survey research and construction related to their respective fields. Data have been collected in a way that enables the team to answer China's policy-relevant questions concerning the design and impact of programs and policies affecting each of the outcomes described above.