Housing Inequality in Transitional Beijing

Youqin Huang, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

China, formerly one of the most egalitarian societies in the world, is becoming one of the most unequal societies in the world, and housing inequality is one of the most significant and visible aspects of social inequality. Wealthy “gated communities” with multi-million dollar villas and dilapidated “migrant enclaves” with crowded shacks are now emerging side-by-side in Chinese cities. In addition to providing a conceptual framework of understanding housing inequality in transitional China, this paper studies the patterns and dynamics of housing inequality in Beijing, using the 1995 1% Population Survey and the 2000 Census data. We argue that there is significant and increasing housing inequality in Beijing. Both socialist institutions such as the persisting hukou system and market mechanisms contribute to housing inequality, and the latter become more important in 2000 than in 1995 as a result of the market reform.

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Presented in Poster Session 4