BEIJING — President Xi Jinping calls it his "China Dream" — a vision of a cohesive, equal society, increasingly wealthy and healthy, and happily wedded to Communist Party rule, ardent patriotism and traditional values. That vision, splashed on television and billboards everywhere here, has driven Mr. Xi's vow that under his administration, Chinese society will become more equal and just.
But two new studies from institutes in Beijing suggest that while Chinese people remain wedded, though not always blissfully, to the status quo, Mr. Xi confronts a persistent undercurrent of discontent with inequality in incomes, schooling opportunities and health care. That social strain could become troublesome, especially if the economy continues to falter.
"In the future, Chinese society will face a series of stern challenges," said the China Family Panel Studies 2015 report, produced by the Institute of Social Science Survey at Peking University.
中国家庭追踪调查(China Family Panel Studies)的2015年度报告称："将来，中国社会将面临一系列严峻的挑战。"该报告由北京大学中国社会科学调查中心撰写。
"At the same time that our nation's total wealth has rapidly grown, there are increasingly pronounced imbalances in Chinese society," it said. "This is reflected not only in the polarization of incomes and wealth, but also in plainly observable disparities in education, health and other social protections."
Mr. Xi and his prime minister, Li Keqiang, have said that overcoming these social imbalances is a priority. But the report, drawing on the results of an annual survey covering more than 35,000 adults and 13,000 families, warns that more needs to be done.
"These problems demand effective solutions," the report said. "Otherwise, it is very possible that they will threaten social stability and become a bottleneck in social and economic development."
The study has created waves, with news reports citing its conclusion that the top 1 percent of Chinese households possess one-third of the country's domestic wealth, while the bottom quarter of households holds 1 percent. But, in fact, that finding had already been reported in last year's study, and the bulk of this year's report focuses on access to housing, education and health care.
The study shows that, as in all societies, family background plays a powerful role in determining people's level of schooling, especially parents' educational attainment. But in China, political privilege is also an important factor. Whether your father is a member of the Communist Party — almost mandatory for government officials — is a powerful determinant of educational attainment, even, the study found, for Chinese born after 1980 under the market-oriented policies of Deng Xiaoping.
"Having a father who is a party member also has a clear, positive effect on an individual's years of schooling," the study said. (A mother's party membership status has no discernible impact, it also found.)
Discrimination against girls has weakened, but it remains a powerful factor in the opportunity for schooling, the study also found. On average, boys receive 1.5 more years of schooling than girls.
Unequal access to health care has also been a source of dissatisfaction for many Chinese, especially residents of the countryside and small towns where medical insurance has been less widely available and where there are fewer doctors and hospitals.
The survey found that the Chinese government's efforts to spread health insurance had made a difference. Growing numbers of rural residents have some, though it is usually not as generous as policies held by many city dwellers. And women also do worse than men.
"Females, rural residents and low-income groups all enjoy fewer health care subsidies and pay a higher proportion by themselves," the study said.
The professionals, managers, white-collar workers and business owners who make up China's middle class are a source of hope and anxiety for the nation's leaders. If its numbers, incomes and satisfaction grow, this middle class could remain a stabilizing pillar of Communist Party governance. But if this wealthier, educated urban stratum becomes unhappy, then the party's grip could weaken.
For now, most members of the Chinese middle class appear attached, for the most part, to the status quo, the Peking University study suggests. The notion that wealthier urbanites are poised to challenge party rule appears unfounded, even taking into account that many people in China may be reluctant to criticize the government, even in surveys.
The study found that about 60 percent of respondents who identified as belonging to the "upper middle stratum" of society had a positive view of their local government's performance. By contrast, 48 percent of those who put themselves in the lowest stratum held a positive view.
"Compared to the working class, and especially workers in the state sector, China's middle class has a more positive assessment of perceptions of the rich-poor gap, trustworthiness of officials and government performance," the study said. "The middle class has the potential to become a social stabilizer."
That could change. A separate survey of more than 3,000 people published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found that middle-class Chinese are more politically engaged than other members of society.
The survey, conducted across 12 months from late 2014 and published in the academy's 2016 "blue book" of social issues, found that 42.6 percent of middle-class respondents in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou said they discussed politics with those around them. Just 27.7 percent of people not in the middle class said they did so.