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Cityscape: Volume 22 Number 2 | Two Essays on Unequal Growth in Housing


Two Essays on Unequal Growth in Housing

Volume 22 Number 2

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Housing Inequality in Developing Asia and the United States: Will Common Problems Mean Common Solutions?

Toshiaki Aizawa
University of York

Matthias Helble
Asian Development Bank

Kwan Ok Lee, corresponding author
National University of Singapore

We analyze housing inequality, an important and common issue in both developing and developed countries. To do so, we use two different samples: one from the 2012–2017 Demographic and Health Survey data for 10 developing countries in Asia and one from the 2017 American Housing Survey for the United States. Our findings suggest that while cities generally have more advantages for housing adequacy because of their population size, not all cities manifest these advantages. In the United States, residents in central cities have lower access to adequate housing than suburban residents. In addition to urban-rural or urban-suburban housing inequality, another dimension of housing inequality is associated with household economic status. We find a significant concentration of inadequate housing among households with lower wealth and income both in Asian developing countries and the United States. Finally, our results suggest spatial heterogeneity in household-level housing inequality. Areas with a larger population, higher economic inequality among residents, and lower housing affordability tend to experience greater housing inequality among households with different levels of wealth and income. After presenting these empirical findings, we discuss various policy measures that attempt to mitigate housing inequality.

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