Explore 21 micro-apartments from around the world


The population of the world's major cities is booming.

From New York to Shanghai, more people are moving into dense, urban areas than ever before. And all these people need somewhere to live.

As property values in the core areas of cities increase around the world, the rise of micro-apartments, or living spaces well under 300 square feet, can provide relatively cheap places to live. 

Depending on your viewpoint, they are either terribly small or an ingenious strategy for coping with housing shortages. 

Check out the photos below of some nice — and not-so-nice — micro-apartments around the world:

Micro-apartments around the world
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Micro-apartments around the world

On the relatively luxurious side of things, development firms in China rent "youth" apartments to students and early-career workers in Shenzen. Here, a student demonstrates a unit with a coveted loft space.

 REUTERS/Bobby Yip

This is demonstration unit, built by the Chinese developer Mofang Apartment in Shenzen, comes with an in-unit washer/dryer.

 REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Students check out a display micro-apartment at the Pearl River Delta Real Estate Fair in Guangzhou, China.

 REUTERS/Clare Jim

The exteriors of the youth apartments are decorated in ways that appeal to young customers, as this graffiti wall shows.

 REUTERS/Bobby Yip

The living area is still pretty tight, however.

 REUTERS/Bobby Yip

In Shanghai, the story's the same. People need to find creative ways to coexist in tight spaces.

 REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

After quitting his job at a stationery store, Wang Cunchun, 93, now shares a 100 square foot Shanghai apartment with his son. He told a Reuters photographer he relies on his pension and a little income from trading stocks as a hobby.

 REUTERS/Aly Song 

Tech workers often share cramped living spaces, like this one at N-Wei Technology Company Limited in Beijing. Larger firms often rent apartments as dual-use offices and employee dormitories.

 REUTERS/Jason Lee

In the Chinese city of Hefei, patients who can't afford a bed at the local hospital are forced to receive treatment in one of the 86-square-foot rooms in a nearby apartment building.


Mumbai, India's largest city, faces the same problems as many Chinese cities. In Dharavi — one of Asia's largest slums — multiple families cram into tiny apartments.

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui 

The cost of renting a one bedroom apartment in Mumbai averages around $190 per month, which is much more than many residents can afford.

 REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui 

The cost of renting a one bedroom apartment in Mumbai averages around $190 per month, which is much more than many residents can afford.

 REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui 

Life, as always, finds a way.

 REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui 

In Hong Kong, skyrocketing property values force some residents to live in cheap "cage apartments." This man told a Reuters photographer he spends $230 a month on a space that consists of little more than a bed and a rice cooker.

REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The cage homes are stacked on top of each other, giving residents little privacy. Here, a man watches TV in a common area in front of the bed he rents for $167 a month in Hong Kong.

 REUTERS/Tyrone Siu 

Hong Kong's impoverished citizens live in a parallel universe beside the financial center's glittering skyscrapers and ritzy clubs.

 REUTERS/Tyrone Siu 

In Seattle, students and young tech employees who want to live in the city's center are forced into tiny units, like this 200-square-foot apartment. "I don't need a bigger apartment," Seungchul You, pictured below, said.

REUTERS/Nick Adams 

While tiny, these 200-square-foot apartments have everything a single resident may need — except for closet space.

REUTERS/Nick Adams 

Buildings like this one, which has 55 micro-units, are cropping up all over Seattle's desirable neighborhoods.

 REUTERS/Nick Adams 


Chris Weller contributed to an earlier version of this post. 

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Photos of Chinese micro-apartments reveal the terrifying scope of a housing crisis

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