No Place in the City: The Segregation of Affordable Formal Private Rentals in Beijing

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Residential segregation by income has become an emerging concern in Chinese cities. Existing literature on residential segregation has mostly focused on the informal rental market, and little is known about the formal private rentals. Nevertheless, with the continued removal of informal settlements, formal private rentals are likely to play a more pivotal role in the provision of affordable housing in the upcoming years. Using data from online rental listings, this article examines changes in the spatial distribution of affordable formal private rentals in Beijing between 2015 and 2018. Our study finds that the availability of affordable formal private rentals decreased drastically in the central city area in the 3-year period, whereas the remaining affordable units in the central-city subdistricts became increasingly segregated from other higher priced rentals. When compared across rentals of different price ranges, the affordable rentals ended up being the most segregated in both 2015 and 2018, with a city-level index of dissimilarity of 0.71 and 0.75, respectively. The research findings necessitate policies that promote affordable rental provision in central locations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHousing Policy Debate
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


  • Beijing
  • formal private rental
  • housing affordability
  • residential segregation


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