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China’s Top 10 Most Livable Cities, According to Chinese Youth

Forget Beijing and Shanghai — Chinese youth have their own opinions about China’s best cities to live in

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Jul 7, 2022 1 mins read

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.


livable city, Chinese cities, livable cities in China

The top post using the ‘city livability search template’ on Xiaohongshu has amassed over 30,000 likes and 57,000 comments. Screengrab via Xiaohongshu


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.


Curious as to which other cities made the top 10? Here's the full list: Changsha, Kunming, Chengdu, Zhuhai, Nanning, Dalian, Wuxi, Chongqing, Guiyang, and Qingdao.


The cover image shows a celebration in Changsha. Image via Depositphotos

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