Commuting Distance of Rural Migrants in Urban China: The Role of Educational Attainment


Commuting distance is directly affected by residential location choice. Most studies examining commuting distance are rooted in the context of a functioning housing market where housing choice is treated as an endogenous variable based on utility maximization. However, in China, institutional forces largely exclude rural migrants from urban mainstream housing systems, and make housing choice an exogenous variable. Therefore, examining migrant commuting distance will help understand how they react to housing market barriers when making workplace location decisions. Given the increasing role of educational attainment in migrant employment outcomes, this paper examines the relationship between migrant educational attainment and commuting distance. Drawing from survey data collected in the capital city Beijing, this paper highlights years of education serving as the strongest predictor of migrant commuting distance. In addition, this paper shows that migrants with a low level of educational attainment are more constrained to nearby informal sector employment, while their counterparts with higher educational attainment are more able to participate in the citywide labor market.

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Sheng, M. , Wu, W. and Gu, C. (2015) Commuting Distance of Rural Migrants in Urban China: The Role of Educational Attainment. Sociology Mind, 5, 276-291. doi: 10.4236/sm.2015.54025.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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