An Overview of Rural to Urban Migration in China and Social Challenges


  • Ziwei Qi Department of Criminal Justice, Fort Hays State University



The rural to urban migration in China represents one of the greatest internal migrations of people in history as rural populations have moved to cities in response to growing labour demand. One major cause of the increased labour demand was the “Reform and Open Market Policy” initiated at the end of the 1970s. The policy amplified the rural to urban divide by promoting a more thoroughly market-based economy with a corresponding reduction in the importance of agricultural production and a greater emphasis on non-agricultural market sectors. As a result, a series of economic reforms have drastically changed the cultural and social aspects of the rural area over the past three decades. Many social problems have been created due to rural to urban migration. These problems include institutional discrimination because of the restrictive household registration policies; social stigmatisation and discrimination in state-owned employment sectors and among urban residents; psychological distress and feelings of alienation.


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How to Cite

Qi, Z. (2019). An Overview of Rural to Urban Migration in China and Social Challenges. Migration Letters, 16(2), 273–282.