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Igor Vojnovic does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Gentrification is reshaping urban areas all around the world, displacing large segments of the population and making cities increasingly unaffordable. We study urban development and its social, physical and environmental impacts.
We recently examined two decades of cultural transitions in Hong Kong with a focus on how the changing status of women and attitudes toward marriage have altered the real estate market. What we found is that single women in Hong Kong have played a surprising and little-studied role in gentrification.
Women have been marrying later in life around the world for many years. The extent of this trend has varied globally, though, reflecting different levels of cultural change and resulting in different regional economic impacts. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, East and Southeast Asia, in particular, witnessed a growing of single men and women.
From tothe of young single women across Asia — China excluded — increased almost fourfold, from 22 million to 82 million. One reason this trend has happened outside of China is cultural. This trend has produced a ripple effect throughout the economy, including the property market and local redevelopment, as the increased of single women — who are also attaining higher-paid jobs — boosts demand for housing.
We analyzed standardized census data from to across all of Hong Kong, with a focus on exploring the impact of women on neighborhoods that were gentrifying. The analysis, which took four years to complete, identified about 34 percent of Hong Kong as experiencing gentrification. The process of gentrification involves capital reinvestment into neighborhoods that encourages their physical upgrading, along with the displacement of groups of lower incomes who have traditionally occupied these communities.
A telltale of gentrification is the shift from rentals to owner-occupied housing.
The share of units with owners living in them in these areas climbed from During the same time period, the of people employed in traditional, working-class sectors like manufacturing more than halved, fromin to 73, in At the same time, the of residents employed in finance, insurance, real estate and business services tripled, from 49, in toin But it is not only the occupational structure that is changing within these neighborhoods.
These gentrifying areas have been increasingly dominated by single women.
Single women increased by Similarly, the of divorced and separated women in these neighborhoods rose at twice the pace of divorced and separated men. As a result, the share of households led by single women, whether never-married or divorced, jumped to While our study focused on Hong Kong, we believe there is reason to think the same thing is happening in cities across the world, such as New York, London, Vancouver and Singapore.
For example, in the U. And in Iceland, some 70 percent of children were born to single mothers inmore than double the share in This is not to say that we should blame women for gentrification. We believe their growing representation and success in the workforce in Hong Kong and elsewhere is something to be celebrated.
And women at the other end of the income spectrum, particularly single mothers, bear the brunt of gentrification. Plymouth Contemporary — Plymouth, Devon.
Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. The share of households in Hong Kong led by single women has soared in recent decades.Single women China - Hong Kong
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China: The men who are single and the women who don't want kids