2004 volume 36(7) pages 1285 – 1304

Cite as:
Wu W, 2004, "Sources of migrant housing disadvantage in urban China" Environment and Planning A 36(7) 1285 – 1304

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Sources of migrant housing disadvantage in urban China

Weiping Wu

Received 7 March 2003; in revised form 1 August 2003

Abstract. 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.

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