Effects of Sibship Structure on Individual Migration: Evidence from Rural China

Yingying Zhou, University of Washington

Numerous studies have linked sibship structure with intrahousehold resource allocation. However, migration, as a family strategy and a resource-generating activity, is seldom studied in association with sibship structure. This study attempts to examine the effects of sibship structure on individuals’ migration probabilities within the context of contemporary rural China, where internal migration is surging and sibship structure is changing as a result of sweeping socioeconomic reform and declining fertility. Using panel data from the 1989-2004 China Health and Nutrition Survey, the study builds random effect logistic regression models and finds that while the effect of individual birth-order rank on subsequent migration probability is weak, gender-specific sibship size, specifically, the number of male siblings an individual has, significantly increases one’s probability of migration. The result suggests the gender preference in family migration decision-making. This study contributes to a better understanding of the roles of the family demographic situation in individual migration status.

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Presented in Session 97: Mobility Decisions and Fertility Decisions