Public housing and educational attainment in Asia's global city: An empirical study of Hong Kong

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In recent years, the relationship between public housing and children's educational attainment has been a hotly debated topic in urban housing and education policy studies. Most studies on the subject have been based on experiences in western cities characterized by a diminishing and residualized public housing sector. It remains unknown whether the same mechanisms identified in the extant literature can be applied to make sense of the situation in alternative social and housing contexts. This study assesses the impact of public housing residence on the educational achievement of children in Hong Kong within a stable and resilient public housing sector. A propensity score matching estimation reveals that children aged 19–22 living in public housing are less likely to study for a degree in a local university and more likely to be not in employment, education or training than their private housing counterparts. Given the favorable physical and neighborhood environment characterizing public housing in Hong Kong, this negative relationship tends to suggest an account in connection with the restricted access to high-performing schools for public housing children. The paper challenges the perceived notion about the unambiguously positive social impact of public housing scheme in the context of Hong Kong. The case study points to the need for a place-specific analysis of the variegated mechanisms linking public housing with children's education. It highlights the practical implications for a closer integration of public housing and public school policies in Hong Kong. Copyright © 2016 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1867-1894
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Issue number8
Early online dateApr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016



Hu, F. Z., & Chou, K. (2016). Public housing and educational attainment in Asia's global city: An empirical study of Hong Kong. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 34(8), 1867-1894.


  • Public housing
  • Educational attainment
  • Public schools
  • Global city
  • Hong Kong