Economic disadvantages and migrants' subjective well‐being in China: The mediating effects of relative deprivation and neighbourhood deprivation

Authors: Yuqi Liu*, The University of Hong Kong
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geography and Urban Health, China
Keywords: China, migrants, neighbourhood deprivation, relative deprivation, subjective well‐being
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Taylor, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


China's new‐style urbanisation plan has aroused public concern about the well‐being of internal migrants in large cities. Although a large body of literature has documented and explained migrants' economic disadvantages in the host city, only a few studies have attempted to unravel the link between their actual economic conditions and their subjective well‐being (SWB). What is missing in the literature on migrants' well‐being in Chinese cities is a systematic investigation into how both individuals' feeling of relative deprivation and neighbourhood deprivation mediate the relationship between their economic disadvantages and their SWB. To bridge this knowledge gap, this paper examined to what extent and in what ways migrants' actual economic disadvantages affected their SWB in Guangzhou, China, using questionnaire survey data and multilevel linear regressions. More particularly, it explored the pathways through which deprivation (in both absolute and relative terms) at both individual and neighbourhood levels influenced migrants' SWB. Results from the multilevel analysis showed that migrants' absolute economic disadvantages were negatively associated with their SWB. Results from mediation analysis indicated that feeling socio‐economically deprived relative to other people in the host cities and living in deprived neighbourhoods were two important
pathways through which migrants' absolute economic disadvantages negatively affected their SWB. Our findings suggest an urgent need to bridge the migrant–local social gap and curb the poverty of migrant neighbourhoods to enhance migrants' SWB.

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