Just looking at these tiny shoebox apartments in Hong Kong will make you claustrophobic

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Because of China's massive population, there is a shortage of housing. Because of demand, realtors can charge astronomical prices for minuscule spaces, like the 80-square-foot apartment of Michelle Wong, a single mother, which she rents for $387.

Because of China's massive population, there is a shortage of housing. Because of demand, realtors can charge astronomical prices for minuscule spaces, like the 80-square-foot  apartment of Michelle Wong, a single mother, which she rents for $387.
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Li Rong, 37, sits on a bed in her 35-square-foot subdivided apartment, with just enough room for a bunk bed and small TV, on the fifth floor of an old industrial building in Hong Kong. Li and people like her live in some of the priciest real estate per square foot in the world.

Li Rong, 37, sits on a bed in her 35-square-foot subdivided apartment, with just enough room for a bunk bed and small TV, on the fifth floor of an old industrial building in Hong Kong. Li and people like her live in some of the priciest real estate per square foot in the world.
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Most of these apartments are subdivided, meaning one unit intended for single occupants has been instead divided into multiple living spaces and rented individually.

Most of these apartments are subdivided, meaning one unit intended for single occupants has been instead divided into multiple living spaces and rented individually.

Ng, 60, leaves a communal toilet near his 60-square-feet subdivided apartment inside an industrial building in Hong Kong. Ng pays a monthly rent of HK$1,250 ($161) for the flat. Subdividing flats is often illegal and can lead to safety and sanitary concerns if not handled correctly.

Ng, 60, leaves a communal toilet near his 60-square-feet subdivided apartment inside an industrial building in Hong Kong. Ng pays a monthly rent of HK$1,250 ($161) for the flat. Subdividing flats is often illegal and can lead to safety and sanitary concerns if not handled correctly.
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Bed bugs have become a major problem in the buildings.

Bed bugs have become a major problem in the buildings.

There is the concern of extreme lack of space and low standards of living.

There is the concern of extreme lack of space and low standards of living.

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People can be forced into "cubicle" apartments, like the 24-square-feet unit Wong Chun-sing, 91, poses inside below. The Hong Kong government estimates that about 100,000 people live in similar units, which cost an average monthly rental rate of $150.

People can be forced into "cubicle" apartments, like the 24-square-feet unit Wong Chun-sing, 91, poses inside below. The Hong Kong government estimates that about 100,000 people live in similar units, which cost an average monthly rental rate of $150.

Because of an extreme shortage of other affordable housing, these folks are forced to make due with the tiny space they have.

Because of an extreme shortage of other affordable housing, these folks are forced to make due with the tiny space they have.
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But it gets worse. To maximize income from the rent in central Hong Kong, landlords build "coffin homes," nicknamed because of their resemblance to real coffins. Twenty-four people live here, packed in a single apartment of little over 500 square feet.

But it gets worse. To maximize income from the rent in central Hong Kong, landlords build "coffin homes," nicknamed because of their resemblance to real coffins. Twenty-four people live here, packed in a single apartment of little over 500 square feet.

The lowest standard of living is the caged beds, which are stacked on top of each other. Each costs $150 a month to rent.

The lowest standard of living is the caged beds, which are stacked on top of each other. Each costs $150 a month to rent.
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The cages are usually about 6 feet by 2.5 feet. Advocacy group Society for Community Organization says that tens of thousands of Chinese workers live like this.

The cages are usually about 6 feet by 2.5 feet. Advocacy group Society for Community Organization says that tens of thousands of Chinese workers live like this.


As more and more workers flock to Hong Kong for its promise of jobs, the demand for apartments will only increase.

As more and more workers flock to Hong Kong for its promise of jobs, the demand for apartments will only increase.
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Check out some more surprising houses.

Check out some more surprising houses.

16 wacky houses from around the globe»