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Sources of migrant housing disadvantage in urban China


  • Weiping Wu


The increasing level of labor mobility in China challenges the current population-management structure. In particular, recent reforms in urban housing provision seem largely to overlook the needs of the migrant population. In this paper I examine the sources of migrant housing disadvantage in cities. Specifically, I analyze the institutional and socioeconomic factors underlying migrant housing choice and conditions, and how these factors influence migrants differently from the locals. Data are drawn primarily from citywide housing surveys and interviews conducted in Shanghai and Beijing. The findings show that migrants make housing decisions based on whether they intend to settle in the cities, and market-related factors such as income and education have a significant, positive impact on migrant housing conditions. But more importantly, the general disadvantage experienced by migrants has much of its root in the institutional restrictions associated with the hukou system that outweigh the combined effects of socioeconomic factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Weiping Wu, 2004. "Sources of migrant housing disadvantage in urban China," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(7), pages 1285-1304, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:36:y:2004:i:7:p:1285-1304

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    Cited by:

    1. Jun Gu & Ingrid Nielsen & Jason Shachat & Russell Smyth & Yujia Peng, 2016. "An experimental study of the effect of intergroup contact on attitudes in urban China," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 53(14), pages 2991-3006, November.
    2. Gottschalch, Sören, 2013. "Urbanization in China and how urban housing demand can be met," IPE Working Papers 27/2013, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    3. Yao, Mingzhu & Wang, Donggen, 2018. "Mobility and travel behavior in urban China: The role of institutional factors," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 122-131.
    4. Fulong Wu & Chris Webster & Shenijing He & Yuting Liu, 2010. "Urban Poverty in China," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13189.
    5. Yafei Liu & Martin Dijst & Stan Geertman & Can Cui, 2017. "Social Sustainability in an Ageing Chinese Society: Towards an Integrative Conceptual Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(4), pages 1-15, April.
    6. Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth & Qingguo Zhai, 2010. "Subjective Well-Being of China’s Off-Farm Migrants," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 315-333, June.
    7. Christine Wen & Jeremy L. Wallace, 2019. "Toward Human-Centered Urbanization? Housing Ownership and Access to Social Insurance Among Migrant Households in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(13), pages 1-14, June.
    8. Li, Bingqin & Duda, Mark & Peng, Huamin, 2007. "Low-cost urban housing markets: serving the needs of low-wage, rural-urban migrants?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 21772, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Ningzi Li & Yue Qian, 2018. "The Impact of Educational Pairing and Urban Residency on Household Financial Investments in Urban China," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 551-565, December.
    10. Song, Yan & Zenou, Yves, 2012. "Urban villages and housing values in China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 495-505.
    11. Li, Bingqin & Duda, Mark & An, Xiangsheng, 2009. "Drivers of housing choice among rural-to-urban migrants: evidence from Taiyuan," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24978, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Hu, Feng & Xu, Zhaoyuan & Chen, Yuyu, 2011. "Circular migration, or permanent stay? Evidence from China's rural-urban migration," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 64-74, March.
    13. Vendryes, Thomas, 2011. "Migration constraints and development: Hukou and capital accumulation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 669-692.
    14. Shukui Tan & Yanan Li & Yan Song & Xiang Luo & Min Zhou & Lu Zhang & Bing Kuang, 2017. "Influence factors on settlement intention for floating population in urban area: a China study," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 147-176, January.
    15. Eddie Chi Man Hui & Ka Hung Yu & Yinchuan Ye, 2014. "Housing Preferences of Temporary Migrants in Urban China in the wake of Gradual Hukou Reform: A Case Study of Shenzhen," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(4), pages 1384-1398, July.

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