Internal Migration and Educational Attainment: Are Rural Migrant Workers Uniquely Socially Vulnerable in China?


Background. Since 1980, China has been experiencing the largest migration in human history. Rural migrant workers are barred from enjoying fair treatment, when compared with their local urban counterparts, in both occupational and social settings. Research aims. The aim was to understand whether internal migration per se is associated with unique social vulnerability among rural migrant workers. Research hypotheses. (1) Less educated rural migrant workers were particularly disadvantaged in their access to social welfare, relative to their better educated counterparts. (2) Less educated rural migrant workers were particularly disadvantaged in securing social networks, relative to their better educated counterparts. (3) Rural migrant workers were more socially vulnerable, relative to their local rural counterparts. Data. Wave 1 (in 2008) of the Rural Household Survey (RHS) and Migrant Household Survey (MHS) were used for binary logistic regression analysis via the software package STATA 14.2. Findings and discussion. In response to Hypothesis 1, the lower the educational background of rural migrant workers, the more disadvantaged they were in terms of the access to social welfare. Supporting Hypothesis 2, less educated rural migrant workers were especially disadvantaged in securing social networks. As noted in Hypothesis 3, rural migrant workers were uniquely socially vulnerable, when compared with local rural dwellers. Conclusions. Rural migrant workers encountered a greater degree of social exclusion than local rural dwellers. Internal migration per se was associated with unique social vulnerability.

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Author Information
Jason Hung, London School of Economics (LSE), United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2019
Stream: Education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon