Residential segregation and commuting patterns of migrant workers in China

In China, many rural migrant workers experience residential segregation and live in urbanizing villages, due to China’s unique institutional context (e.g. land tenure system, hukou system) as well as exclusionary housing regulations. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether these urbanizing villages provide good job accessibility for rural migrant workers. The authors explore this problem by investigating the commuting patterns of migrant workers. Through a survey conducted in 2009 across four mega-regions in China that are currently experiencing rapid urbanization, the authors, household socioeconomic status, and whether the migrant worker is living in an urbanizing village or not. From residential address information collected in the survey, the authors constructed a group of built environment variables. Using IV Tobit models to address the endogeneity issues associated with residential location choice, the authors' analyses show that these urbanizing villages actually provide relatively good accessibility to job opportunities. This result is different from what is suggested by the spatial mismatch literature based on U.S. data. This research helps to fill the gap in the literature on the relationship between residential segregation, built environment and travel behavior in the Chinese context. The findings have implications for policymaking, especially when many government officials are proposing to demolish urbanizing villages without fully realizing the benefits of these villages. This research could also provide useful information for other developing countries facing residential segregation of migrants or immigrants.


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  • Accession Number: 01636819
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 30 2017 3:27PM