The Effect of Internal Migration in China on Socioeconomic Outcomes and the Level of Living

Donald J. Treiman, University of California, Los Angeles
Yao Lu, Columbia University

Using data from a just-completed 2007-2008 national probability sample of 3,000 Chinese adults that includes an oversample of internal migrants, this paper will use a fixed effects approach to study the consequences of migration for occupational position and the standard of living. Over the last two decades, China has experienced massive internal migration, with about 150 million people, 12% of the population, living in places other than where they are formally registered. While internal migration in China is complex, the bulk is rural-to-urban labor migration, driven by the demand for workers in cities and the lack of economic opportunities in the countryside. But, despite strong incentives to migrate, little is known about whether and to what extent labor migration results in an improvement in the lives of migrants. This paper will compare migrants and non-migrants at origin and destination with respect to a variety of socioeconomic outcomes.

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Presented in Session 54: Assimilation of Rural-To-Urban Migrants around the World