Tropical Geography ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (5): 721-731.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003149

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Socio-spatial Segregation of New Migrants in Shenzhen, China

Wu Rong1,2, Pan Zhuolin1,2, Liu Ye1,2(), Li Zhigang3,4   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Guangzhou 510275, China
    3. School of Urban Design, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430070, China
    4. Hubei Residential Environment Research Center of Engineering and Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
  • Received:2018-12-22 Revised:2019-05-01 Online:2019-09-10 Published:2019-11-08
  • Contact: Liu Ye


Boosted by industrialization and urbanization, China’s economy has become more oriented to growth. Along with this trend, the “urban era” is emerging, and the gap between rich and poor is increasing sharply within China’s cities. Available living space is therefore being rapidly reconstructed, and social space continuously differentiated. On the basis of data from the Sixth National Census, this paper explores the socio-spatial differentiation of the new migrants in Shenzhen, a typical migrants’ city in China, through calculations of the dissimilarity index, the isolation index and the Location Quotient. In addition to applying a linear regression model, this paper also analyzes the factors influencing spatial differentiation of new migrants in Shenzhen and compares these with Guangzhou to explore the similarities and differences of socio-spatial differentiation and its influencing mechanism in different cities. The empirical analysis shows that, first, there are five types of social spaces in Shenzhen, including elite-stratum neighborhoods, working-class ghettos, retired-population neighborhoods, urban villages, and new-migrant neighborhoods. Second, the spatial distribution of new migrants is uneven at the city level: the intra-province migrants are more concentrated inside the special economic zone (SEZ) of Shenzhen (where Futian District, Luohu District, Nanshan District and Yantian District locate), while inter-province migrants concentrate outside the SEZ (where Baoan District, Longgang District, Guangming New District, Longhua New District, Pingshan New District and Dapeng New District locate). Third, the dissimilarity index between the new migrants and the local residents is 0.47 and the isolation index is 0.64 in Shenzhen, higher than the same indices in Guangzhou, which indicates a higher degree of isolation among new migrants in Shenzhen. Moreover, there are significant differences on the degree of isolation between the districts of the SEZ and those outside the SEZ. This situation mainly stems from the differences in the level of economic development and the industrial structure, which is different from the suburbanization of migrants dominated by market factors in other Chinese cities like Guangzhou. Fourth, the results of the linear regression model show that the effects of institutional factors (Hukou-account attributes) on the spatial pattern of new migrants have decreased, while the role of market factors is increasing in this regard, in line with the assumption of “transition to a market-oriented economy”. Besides, demographic characteristics have significant influence on the spatial pattern of new migrants, especially with regard to the effects of age and educational level. Fifth, by contrast, the spatial pattern of new migrants in Guangzhou is impacted not only by the dual influences of institutional and market factors but also by the age structure and marital status. The household registration system continues to exert influence on spatial patterns in Guangzhou. It can be seen that the socio-spatial differentiation of new migrants and its mechanism show a pattern of heterogeneity in different cities. At the leading edge of the reform and opening-up policy, Shenzhen reflects the characteristics of social space under the influence of China’s transformation of socialist market. After the reform and opening-up policy more than 30 years ago, the shifting influences of “system-market” factors and the effect of the transition are particularly evident in Shenzhen. Against the historical background of the government and the market’s influence, the socio-spatial pattern in urban China is gradually developing into a “market-oriented” model.

Key words: new migrants, socio-spatial segregation, residential segregation, Shenzhen, Guangzhou

CLC Number: 

  • C922