The public rental housing (PRH) provides its tenants the opportunity to access homeownership after the lease contracts expire. Therefore, PRH facilitates migrant workers to settle down in hosted cities as it provides the foreseeable future for them to be integrated into urban lives. Similarly, the perception of tenants on housing adequacy of their sitting PRH units plays a critical role in decision making of the housing tenure choice. This research aims to explore determinants of migrant workers' housing tenure choice towards their sitting PRH units such as socio-economic characteristics of tenants as well as the housing adequacy. A large scale questionnaire survey was conducted in Chongqing, where the PRH program allows residents to rent and buy after five-year lease. Eight components of adequate housing were identified, i.e. public facilities, housing policies, housing amenities, housing internal design, housing indoor quality and safety, building external design and landscape, housing affordability, and facility management. The overall housing adequacy had a positive relationship with tenure choice, which was statistically affected by socio-economic characteristics such as age and housing type, education and income. Meanwhile, six critical components of housing adequacy significantly affect the housing tenure choice, i.e. public facilities, housing internal design, housing indoor quality and safety, building external design and landscape, housing affordability, and facility management. These findings shed some lights on sustainable development of PRH programs and provide valuable evidence for policy making related to the urbanization in China. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.