SM  Vol.5 No.4 , October 2015
Commuting Distance of Rural Migrants in Urban China: The Role of Educational Attainment
ABSTRACT
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.

Cite this paper
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.
References
[1]   Axisa, J. J., Scott, D. M., & Newbold, K. B. (2012a). Factors Influencing Commute Distance: A Case Study of Toronto’s Commuter Shed. Journal of Transport Geography, 24, 123-129.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2011.10.005

[2]   Axisa, J. J., Newbold, K. B., & Scott, D. M. (2012b). Migration, Urban Growth and Commuting Distance in Toronto’s Commuter Shed. Area, 44, 344-355.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01097.x

[3]   Beckham, J. D., & Goulias, K. G. (2008). Immigration, Residential Location, Car Ownership, and Commuting Behavior: A Multivariate Latent Class Analysis from California. Transportation, 35, 655-671.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11116-008-9172-x

[4]   Blumenberg, E. (2004). En-Gendering Effect Planning: Spatial Mismatch, Low-Income Women, and Transportation Policy. Journal of the American Planning Association, 70, 269-281.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01944360408976378

[5]   Blumenberg, E. (2009). Moving in and Moving Around: Immigrants, Travel Behavior, and Implications for Transport Policy. Transportation Letters, 1, 169-180.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3328/TL.2009.01.02.169-180

[6]   Blumenberg, E., & Manville, M. (2004). Beyond the Spatial Mismatch: Welfare Recipients and Transportation Policy. Journal of Planning Literature, 19, 182-205.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0885412204269103

[7]   Blumenberg, E., Donahue, M., Handy S., Lovejoy, K., Rodier, C., Shaheen, S., & Volker, J. (2007). Travel of Diverse Populations: Literature Review. Institute of Transportation Studies.

[8]   Bohon, S. A., Stams, K., & Atiles, J. H. (2008). Transportation and Migrant Adjustment in Georgia. Population Research and Policy Review, 27, 273-291.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11113-008-9075-8

[9]   Brauw, A., & Rozelle, S. (2008). Reconciling the Returns to Education in Off-Farm Wage Employment in Rural China. Review of Development Economics, 12, 57-71.

[10]   Casas, J., Arce, C., & Frye, C. (2004). Latino Immigration and Its Impact on Future Travel Behavior. National Household Travel Survey Conference: Understanding Our Nation’s Travel, Washington DC, October.

[11]   Champion, T., Coombes, M., & Brown D. L. (2009). Migration and Longer-Distance Commuting in Rural England. Regional Studies, 43, 1245-1259.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00343400802070902

[12]   Chatman, D. G., & Klein, N. (2009). Immigrants and Travel Demand in the United States. Public Works Management & Policy, 13, 312-327.

[13]   Dieleman, F. M. (2001). Modelling Residential Mobility: A Review of Recent Trends in Research. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 16, 249-265.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1012515709292

[14]   Fan, C. C. (2011). Settlement Intention and Split Households: Findings from a Survey of Migrants in Beijing’s Urban Villages. The China Review, 11, 11-42.

[15]   Findlay, A. M., Stockdale, A., Findlay, A., & Short, D. (2001). Mobility as a Driver of Change in Rural Britain: An Analysis of the Links between Migration, Commuting and Travel to Shop Patterns. International Journal of Population Geography, 7, 1-15.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijpg.201

[16]   Gottlieb, P. D., & Lentnek, B. (2001). Spatial Mismatch Is Not Always a Central-City Problem: An Analysis of Commuting Behavior in Cleveland, Ohio, and Its Suburbs. Urban Studies, 38, 1161-1186.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00420980120051701

[17]   Green, A. (1999). Employment Opportunities and Constraints Facing In-Migrants to Rural Areas in England. Geography, 84, 34-44.

[18]   Gu, C., Sheng, M., & Hu, L. (2015). Chapter 5: Spatial Characteristics and New Changes of the “Ant Tribe” Urban Village in Beijing: Cases Studies of Tangjialing and Shigezhuang. In T. C. Wong, S. S. Han, & H. M. Zhang (Eds.), Population Mobility, Urban Planning and Management in China (pp. 73-93). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15257-8_5

[19]   Handy, S., Blumenberg, E., Donahue, M., Lovejoy, K., Rodier, C., Shaheen, S., Shiki, K., & Song, L. (2008). Travel Behavior of Mexican and Other Immigrant Groups in California. Berkeley Planning Journal, 21, 1-24.

[20]   Houston, D. S. (2005a). Methods to Test the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis. Economic Geography, 81, 407-434.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-8287.2005.tb00281.x

[21]   Houston, D. S. (2005b). Employability, Skills Mismatch and Spatial Mismatch in Metropolitan Labor Markets. Urban Studies, 42, 221-243.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0042098042000316119

[22]   Kain, J. F. (1968). Housing Segregation, Negro Employment, and Metropolitan Decentralization. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 82, 175-197.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1885893

[23]   Knight, J., Deng, Q., & Li, S. (2011). The Puzzle of Migrant Labor Shortage and Rural Surplus in China. China Economic Review, 22, 585-600.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chieco.2011.01.006

[24]   Lau, J. C., & Chiu, C. C. H. (2013). Dual-Track Urbanization and Co-Location Travel Behavior of Migrant Workers in New Towns in Guangzhou. China Cities, 30, 89-97.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2011.12.011

[25]   Light, D. W. (2004). From Migrant Enclaves to Mainstream: Conceptualizing Informal Economic Behavior. Theory and Society, 33, 705-737.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:RYSO.0000049193.32984.c2

[26]   Liu, C. Y., & Painter, G. (2011). Immigrant Settlement and Employment Suburbanization in the US: Is There a Spatial Mismatch? Urban Studies, 49, 979-1002.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0042098011405695

[27]   Lo, L., Shalaby, A., Eng, P., & Alshalalfah, B. (2011). Relationship between Immigrant Settlement Patterns and Transit Use in the Greater Toronto Area. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 137, 470-476.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)UP.1943-5444.0000080

[28]   Lu, Z., & Song, S. (2006). Rural-Urban Migration and Wage Determination: The Case of Tianjin, China. China Economic Review, 17, 337-345.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chieco.2006.04.007

[29]   Maoh, H., & Tang, Z. (2012). Determinants of Normal and Extreme Commute Distance in a Sprawled Midsize Canadian City: Evidence from Windsor, Canada. Journal of Transportation Geography, 25, 50-57.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2012.07.003

[30]   Martin, R. W. (2001). Spatial Mismatch and Costly Suburban Commutes: Can Commuting Subsidies Help? Urban Studies, 38, 1305-1318.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00420980120061034

[31]   McLafferty, S., & Preston, V. (1997). Gender, Race, and the Determinants of Commuting: New York in 1990. Urban Geography, 18, 192-212.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2747/0272-3638.18.3.192

[32]   Ommeren, J., Rietveld, P., & Nijkamp, P. (2000). Job Mobility, Residential Mobility and Commuting: A Theoretical Analysis Using Search Theory. The Annals of Regional Science, 34, 213-232.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s001689900004

[33]   Owusu, T. Y. (1999). Residential Patterns and Housing Choices of Ghanaian Immigrants in Toronto, Canada. Housing Studies, 14, 77-97.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02673039983019

[34]   Preston, V., McLafferty, S., & Liu, X. F. (1998). Geographical Barriers to Employment for American-Born and Immigrant Workers. Urban Studies, 35, 529-545.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0042098984899

[35]   Romani, J., Surinach, J., & Artiis, M. (2003). Are Commuting and Residential Mobility Decisions Simultaneous? The Case of Catalonia, Spain. Regional Studies, 37, 813-826.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0034340032000128730

[36]   Skeldon, R. (1997). Rural-to-Urban Migration and Its Implications for Poverty Alleviation. Asia-Pacific Population Journal, 12, 3-16.

[37]   Sultana, S. (2003). Commuting Constraints of Black Female Workers in Atlanta: An Examination of the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis in Married-Couple, Dual-Earner Households. Southeastern Geographer, 43, 249-259.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/sgo.2003.0000

[38]   Tal, G., & Handy, S. (2010). Travel Behavior of Immigrants: An Analysis of the 2001 National Household Transportation Survey. Transport Policy, 17, 85-93.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2009.11.003

[39]   Taylor, B. D., & Ong, P. M. (1995). Spatial Mismatch or Automobile Mismatch? An Examination of Race, Residence and Commuting in US Metropolitan Areas. Urban Studies, 32, 1453-1473.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00420989550012348

[40]   Wen, M., & Wang, G. (2009). Demographic, Psychological, and Social Environmental Factors of Loneliness and Satisfaction among Rural-to-Urban Migrants in Shanghai, China. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 50, 155-182.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0020715208101597

[41]   Wong, D. F. K., Chang, Y. L., & He, X. S. (2007). Rural Migrant Workers in Urban China: Living a Marginalized Life. International Journal of Social Welfare, 16, 32-40.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2397.2007.00475.x

[42]   Wu, F. (2009). Land Development, Inequality and Urban Villages in China. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 33, 885-889.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2427.2009.00935.x

[43]   Wu, W. (2002). Migrant Housing in Urban China Choices and Constraints. Urban Affairs Review, 38, 90-119.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/107808702401097817

[44]   Wu, W. (2006). Migrant Intra-Urban Residential Mobility in Urban China. Housing Studies, 21, 745-765.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02673030600807506

[45]   Wu, W., & Wang, G. (2014). Together but Unequal: Citizenship Rights for Migrants and Locals in Urban China. Urban Affairs Review, 50, 781-805.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1078087413518172

[46]   Wyly, E. K. (1996). Race, Gender, and Spatial Segmentation in the Twin Cities. Professional Geographer, 48, 431-444.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0033-0124.1996.00431.x

[47]   Zax, J. S., & Kain, J. F. (1991). Commutes, Quits and Moves. Journal of Urban Economics, 29, 153-165.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0094-1190(91)90010-5

[48]   Zenou, Y. (2009). Urban Search Models under High-Relocation Costs. Theory and Application to Spatial Mismatch. Labor Economics, 16, 534-546.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2009.02.002

[49]   Zhang, L., Huang, J., & Rozelle, S. (2002). Employment, Emerging Labor Markets, and the Role of Education in Rural China. China Economic Review, 13, 313-328.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1043-951X(02)00075-5

[50]   Zhang, L., Zhao, S. X. B., & Tian, J. P. (2003). Self-Help in Housing and Chengzhongcun in China’s Urbanization. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27, 912-937.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0309-1317.2003.00491.x

[51]   Zhao, P., & Howden-Chapman, P. (2010). Social Inequalities in Mobility: The Impact of the Hukou System on Migrants’ Job Accessibility and Commuting Costs in Beijing. International Development Planning Review, 32, 363-384.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3828/idpr.2010.13

 
 
Top