Subjective well-being in China: how much does commuting matter?

With rapidly increasing urbanization and motorization in China, the effect of commuting on residents’ subjective well-being (SWB) is likely growing. We used 13,261 individual, 124 city, and 401 neighbourhood samples from the 2014 China Labour-Force Dynamics Survey (CLDS 2014) and applied multilevel mixed-effects ordered probit regressions to investigate the relationship between commuting and SWB. We found huge differences between urban and rural areas in relation to commuting. Urban respondents’ daily average commuting time was 0.56 h while rural respondents’ daily average commuting time was 0.41 h. Further, the daily average commute time for residents living in cities with high urbanization rates (> 70%) was longer than for those living in cities with low urbanization rates (< 70%). The subjective well-being of residents who commute by walking or cycling was significantly lower than that of those who commute by other transportation modes. The regression results indicated that the longer the commute time, the lower the subjective well-being. Among residents who live in rural areas or cities with low urbanization, subjective well-being was more easily affected by commuting time. Commuting time was also found to influence residents’ job satisfaction and family life satisfaction, which in turn influence SWB. China’s current development mode ignores the traffic needs of vulnerable groups. Therefore, future traffic construction should increase its prioritization of these vulnerable transportation groups.

  • Record URL:
  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • © 2019 Zhenjun Zhu et al. The contents of this paper reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Transportation Research Board or the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Authors:
  • Publication Date: 2019-8


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01714636
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 25 2019 3:06PM