Housing affordability and mental health in urban China: a cross-sectional study

Yue Wang, Zidan Mao*, Donggen Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The mental health implications of housing affordability have recently received research attentions in different countries. This study examines this issue in the context of urban China, where housing affordability has become one of the most pressing social issues and its health implications have aroused academic interests. We aim to enrich the literature by specifying the mental health implications of housing affordability for different population groups and geographical regions. We focus on homeowners living in urban China. Data from the 2016 Wave of the China Family Panel Studies are used for the study. Models are developed for the whole sample and for subsamples of different socioeconomic backgrounds or from different Chinese regions. We find that the mental health impacts of housing affordability are significantly different for different population groups. For examples, though males are in general mentally healthier than females, they are more likely to mentally suffer from housing unaffordability than females; unaffordable housing owners with non-agricultural Hukou are more likely to sacrifice mental health than those with agricultural Hukou, despite that the former are mentally healthier than the latter; housing unaffordability costs mental health for people living in the Western region, but not for those living in other regions of China. We argue that these group differences in the Chinese context may be attributed to a number of factors distinguishing China from other countries including the Hukou system and the large regional differences in social and economic development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-504
Number of pages21
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number3
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Housing affordability
  • Socioeconomic groups
  • mental health
  • regions
  • neighbourhood


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