Urbanization and Children in China

Zai Liang , University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Yuanfei Li, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

China has experienced a fast-paced urbanization during the past three decades. Today more than 50% of Chinese population lives in urban places. Compared to other developing countries, China’s urbanization is not driven by high fertility of urban residents but rather by large volumes of internal migrants, now estimated to be as many 200 million. Some of these migrants may choose to stay in urban areas and others may decide to leave after working for a few years. This paper examines the extent to which children affect migrants’ intention for long term settlement and even their plan to change hukou status to local urban registration. Using data from the 2012 China Migrant Monitoring Survey, we find strong linkages between children and migrant parents’ long-term settlement plan and hukou conversion. Our analysis of regional variations across city and provinces also suggests ways to promote the strategy of “people centered urbanization.” The list of policy priorities may include: making it easier for migrant children to access urban public schools, making rental housing more affordable and increasing urban education resources, and creating more opportunities for community-based activities in neighborhoods with high concentration of migrants.

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 Presented in Session 62. Migration and Spatial Change in Global South