Determinants of urban identity in urbanizing China: findings from a survey experiment

Juan Chen, Chunying Yue, Liying Ren, Jie Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Based on data collected from an original factorial survey experiment in the 2018 Urbanization and Quality of Life Survey, this study seeks to test the factors that determine the level of urban identity among the residents of 40 township-level administrative units in newly urbanized areas or potential sites of urbanization in China. Our results indicate that, while urban identity continues to be strongly forged by hukou status, home ownership also plays an important part in predicting urban identity. Owning an apartment in the city positively predicts a higher level of urban identity; residing in resettlement housing does not enhance urban identity. Different from hypothesized, the pathway to urban residency—whether it is rural-to-urban migration or in-situ urbanization—does not have differential effect on urban identity, nor do the effects of hukou and home ownership differ between the two pathways. The findings suggest that in order to foster the integration of former rural residents into Chinese cities, the government must radically reform the hukou system and ensure access to stable and permanent housing among the new urbanites while reducing residential segregation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-318
Number of pages24
JournalChinese Sociological Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Demography
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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