Housing settlement for migrant workers in China : a case study of Shenzhen

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Housing settlement for migrant workers in China : a case study of Shenzhen

 

Author: Tao, Li
Title: Housing settlement for migrant workers in China : a case study of Shenzhen
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2013
Subject: Migrant labor -- China -- Shenzhen (Guangdong Sheng : East) -- Social conditions.
Housing.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xii, 247 leaves : col. ill., 1 col. map ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2616047
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7018
Abstract: Since the economic reform in 1978, China has experienced remarkable speed in economic growth and an extraordinary process of urbanization. At the same time, the economic development gap between regions, especially western inner cities versus eastern coastal areas and urban versus rural areas, has widened. Both the inequality in the regional development and the deregulation of the floating population in the 1980s accelerated the influx of a floating population from less developed regions to developed regions to look for jobs. The members of this floating population are usually called migrant workers. The research objects of this study are the temporary migrant workers who arrived in the locality more than half a year ago without local Hukou. For simplicity and convenience, they are referred to as migrant workers in this study. Migrant workers are vulnerable. Their income is generally lower than that of the locals. Housing affordability among migrant workers has increasingly become a serious problem, especially in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. As they do not have local Hukou, they are barred from the local public housing system, and they do not have access to mortgages and the Housing Provident Fund. Moreover, a large proportion of migrant workers are not covered by social security, increasing their non-housing costs (e.g., medical cost due to accident or illness) and thus decreasing their housing consumption capacity. As a result, a large number of migrant workers turn to rental housing in urban villages, private rental housing, and free dormitories for accommodation. However, many of these housing facilities are dilapidated and have poor conditions. One way to resolve the fundamental housing problems of migrant workers is by exploring how to provide more adequate and affordable housing for them, which is the aim of this study. The following were found through a literature review on migrant workers and their housing issues. 1) An organized study on housing demand and housing supply for migrant workers is yet to be conducted. 2) The underlying reasons for the housing choices and residential satisfaction of migrant workers have not been sufficiently examined. 3) A comprehensive review of all housing options available for migrant workers, including the housing in their hometowns, in China is needed. 4) More empirical work is needed for comparison and verification of migrant workers in China, as no officially released systematic data on migrant workers are available. To fill the four knowledge gaps on the demand side, two objectives are associated with obtaining a deeper understanding of migrant workers: 1) to depict a profile of migrant workers’ demographic characteristics, housing choices, housing conditions, and housing preferences, and 2) to explore the factors affecting migrant workers’ housing choices. On the supply side, it is necessary to look further into the housing options available for migrant workers: 1) to examine the housing supply in the public sector, 2) to examine the housing supply in the private sector, and 3) to examine migrant workers’ housing in their hometown. Based on the analyses of both demand and supply sides, suggestions can be put forward in a holistic way on how to provide more adequate and affordable housing for migrant workers in China. Two objectives are associated with this: 1) to assess the match between housing demand and supply for migrant workers, and 2) to put forward suggestions on how to provide more adequate and affordable housing for migrant workers in Shenzhen from the network perspective.
Shenzhen is taken as the case study because it is a unique migrant city with the highest proportion of a non-local population in China. Its experience in accommodating migrant workers can be shared with other major cities in China. This research was conducted in three main stages: literature review, analysis of housing settlement of migrant workers, and verification. Both firsthand data and secondhand data were employed. The collection of firsthand data was divided into three stages, namely, Stage 1: semi-structured interview with the government and research institutions (pilot study); Stage 2: questionnaire survey (including the pilot survey of two districts and survey of all six districts of Shenzhen); and Stage 3: semi-structured interview with government officials and structured interview with migrant workers (for verification). In data analysis, factor analysis, multinomial logistic regression, and ordinal regression were employed. The network approach was used to make suggestions on how to improve housing affordability and adequacy for migrant workers. The seven research objectives can be achieved through this research. This study has five major contributions. 1) It deepens the understandings of migrant workers in China based on the previous research findings, for example, the underlying reasons for their continuing move after their arrival in the locality, their cognitive level of the locality, the housing ladder of migrant workers, their sources of housing fund, housing expectations, and so on. 2) Specific factors affecting the housing choices of migrant workers are explored, for example, mobility characteristics, Hukou, cognition and expectation of the locality, residential preferences, and so on. The cognitive level of the locality plays an important role in housing choices of migrant workers. A better understanding about migrant workers’ housing consumption is achieved, shedding light on how to cater for their housing needs and to accommodate them more effectively. 3) A comparison between the housing demand of migrant workers and the housing supply for them in the public and private sectors is given. The housing cost ratio of migrant workers and their residential satisfaction are examined. The factors affecting their residential levels are explored. Although Hukou (rural vs. urban) influences the residential satisfaction of migrant workers, the effect is not significant. 4) The network approach is employed to examine how to provide more adequate and affordable housing for migrant workers in China. The semi-public sector, for example, housing associations, is suggested to be established to provide affordable housing in China. 5) The data collection of this research is comprehensive in terms of meeting the purposes of the different stages of the research, validating the situations of different time periods and representing the opinions or situations of different stakeholders

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