2012 Volume 120 Issue 1 Pages 51-60
To understand the complex process underlying the emergence and growth of inequality in a population and its impact on individuals’ subjective quality of life (QOL), the authors conducted fieldwork in 2001 and 2009 in a rural minority community in Hainan Island, China. The tourism industry, which developed in 2001, provided paid jobs for half of the adult men in 2009. Responses on the abbreviated version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF) indicated that subjective QOL, socioeconomic status, and dietary quality were significantly higher among the individuals with paid jobs. The present case study suggests that Chinese minority communities that have undergone significant economic growth have experienced the emergence and growth of inequality in job opportunities, which has stratified the subjective QOL, dietary quality, and socioeconomic status within the community. These findings suggest that the stages of ‘health transition’ differed among individuals in the community, and that analysis of inter-individual variation in a community may contribute to a better understanding of health in rural Chinese communities.