Economists and travel platforms often weigh in on the most livable cities in a country or the world, and it turns out Chinese youth are also opinionated on the subject. Last week, China’s biggest lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu published a study revealing the factors that impact young Chinese people’s decisions on where to live in the country.
Changsha, a city in Central China known for its underground scene, tops the list. Kunming, a Southwest city synonymous with mild weather year-round, follows closely behind. The third spot goes to Chengdu, which — despite the local food’s fiery reputation — is very much about chill vibes.
Entitled ‘Insight Report on Young People’s Choices of Cities to Live,’ the research is based on a combination of data generated by Xiaohongshu’s search engine and a questionnaire with more than 2,000 respondents.
Some of the oft-mentioned factors for choosing a Chinese city to live in include cost-friendliness, transportation convenience, opportunities to make like-minded friends, and cultural dynamics.
Since 2022, the keyword ‘livable city’ has seen a surge of searches on Xiaohongshu, as scores of netizens have solicited recommendations on livable cities. The high volume of such posts has even yielded a ‘city livability search template,’ which often begins with the headline “Awaiting a City that is...” followed by ideal features in bullet points.
A top post on Xiaohongshu lists reasonable housing prices, ample public transportation, and diverse snacks, among others, under its factors for choosing a city.
The report also reveals that most respondents have toyed with the idea of moving to another city. Interestingly, 70% of those born in the 2000s rely on advice from fellow netizens. In contrast, those born in the 1980s and 1990s prefer to experience a place for themselves before deciding.
“When it comes to selecting the city [to live], the younger generation has more freedom, [and is] self-oriented and proactive,” the report says.
The report has interpreted the above through the lens of post-materialism, or a shift of priorities from materialism to autonomy, self-expression, and self-actualization.
The cover image shows a celebration in Changsha. Image via Depositphotos
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