Inequality and Internal Migration in China

Workers in the Seagate factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China (Photo by Wikimedia user Scoble, under the Creative Commons 2.0 Attribtion).
Workers in the Seagate factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China (Photo by Wikimedia user Scoble, under the Creative Commons 2.0 Attribtion).

The economic reforms that began in China in the early 1980s triggered one of the largest population movements in human history. Since they began, in each decade, tens of millions of rural people have left the land to seek higher incomes by working or trading in urban areas. The census in 2000 found that there were more than 120 million migrant workers in Chinese cities. More-recent estimates go as high as 200 million. This massive internal migration has appeared especially dramatic from a Chinese perspective because mobility was severely restricted in Maoist times, making it almost impossible for rural people […]

Keep reading for free right now!

Enter your email to get instant access to the rest of this article, get five free articles every 30 days, and to receive our free email newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Become a member now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Weekly in-depth reports, including features on important countries and issues.
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you — right now for just $1 for the first 30 days.

More World Politics Review