Geographic extent of income-based residential segregation between and within the school districts in Suzhou, China

Yuqing Zhang, Hyung-Chul Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Urban research has progressively recognized the crucial role played by the social-spatial composition of schools and school districts in contributing to urban segregation outcomes. In China, the residence-based education policy states that students are enrolled in schools based on their place of residence during their compulsory educational period. This policy strengthens the association between schools and housing in school districts, resulting in a higher price premium for housing within desirable school districts and potentially leading to residential segregation between these districts. However, little research has been conducted to investigate the extent of residential segregation in purely school district areas. In this study, we use multiple data sources to measure the levels of residential segregation within and between the different school districts. Furthermore, we employ the multi-level regression model to explore the effects of school quality on school district segregation. Our findings reveal that Suzhou, particularly the recently developed district known as the SIP, is experiencing a moderate level of school district segregation. The rankings and reputation of schools significantly contribute to this segregation, with middle school parents showing a greater concern for rankings compared to primary school parents. Notably, the score-based enrolment policy does not exacerbate segregation within middle school districts, making it an appropriate measure to alleviate educational inequality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Publication statusSubmitted - 18 Oct 2023


  • Residential segregation
  • School district
  • Segregation indices
  • Multi level regression


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