Housing Preferences of Temporary Migrants in Urban China in the wake of Gradual Hukou Reform: A Case Study of Shenzhen


In the wake of the recent announcement by the State Council concerning the provision of public rental housing across China, and the gradual reform of China’s household registration system (hukou), this article explores how potential adjustments in government housing policies (namely access to public rental housing) influence the housing preferences of temporary migrants who are currently residing inside the chengzhongcun (urban villages) of Shenzhen. The results indicate that dissatisfaction with rental cost and living conditions in these urban villages are the key reasons for migrants wishing to move into public rental housing if it is offered to them — and not the fact that they are treated differently within the hukou system. Public rental housing is welcomed in particular by newly arriving migrants who live outside the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ), and migrants who have decided to remain in Shenzhen for the foreseeable future. By contrast, dissatisfaction with urban villages is the sole contributor to housing preferences for those residing inside the SEZ.