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Moving Toward an Inclusive Housing Policy: Migrants’ Access to Subsidized Housing in China

September 17 @ 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm


Youqin Huang, Professor of Geography and Planning and Confucius Institute Director, University at Albany

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China is rapidly urbanizing with hundreds of millions of migrants leaving villages for cities. Due to the discriminatory Household Registration (Hukou) System, migrants have been denied urban welfare benefits. The Chinese government has been promoting inclusive urbanization with significant policy changes in recent decade; yet, its impact on migrants is not clear. This talk examines whether housing is becoming more inclusive to migrants in Chinese cities.

A review of recent policy changes at both the central and local level shows that while housing policy is becoming more inclusive of migrants at the central level, local governments have largely remained exclusionary and exercised “selective inclusion” – allowing only qualified migrants meeting additional and strict requirements to access subsidized housing. The empirical analyses using two waves of China Migrants Dynamic Survey reveal that few migrants have access to subsidized housing despite policy changes.  Institutional barriers continue to exclude migrants from subsidized housing, although many have become less important over time. It is clear that housing discrimination persists, and housing inclusion remains a distant dream for most migrants in China. This research highlights exclusion based on an important but uncommon birth scribed status defined by the government and provides a multi-scalar perspective on inclusion of domestic migrants.

Dr. Huang received her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2001. Since then she has been a member of the Department of Geography and Planning and a Research Associate of the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis (CSDA) at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). In the area of housing, Dr. Huang’s research has focused on housing consumption, residential mobility, housing inequality and residential segregation, low-income housing, and their impact on communities, commuting patterns, and urban development. In the area of migration, Dr. Huang has focused on the patterns and dynamics of migration, and how it affects migrants, their families, and origin and destination communities. She also has a regional focus on China, where profound socioeconomic and spatial transformations are taking place. She is interested in understanding the unprecedented market transition and its impact on Chinese people and places, focusing on housing, migration and urban development.

Dr. Huang is currently working on home-ownership and low-income housing, and the impact of migration on children in China, the latter of which is supported by NIH. She is the author/editor of six books, and has published many book chapters and articles in prestigious journals in geography, urban studies, housing, and China.

Cosponsored by the UB Department of Geography and Confucius Institute


September 17
3:30 pm - 4:45 pm