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Rural migrants and shantytown communities in Chinese cities

Fei Guo, Macquarie University, Australia
Fang Cai, Institute of Population and Labour Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Zhanxin Zhang, Institute of Population and Labour Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

This paper examines the livelihood of rural migrants and structures of their communities in Chinese cities. Based on a newly conducted survey in five cities - Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Shenyang, Wuxi and Dongguan, the study aims to understand the process of formation/transformation of migrant communities into “shantytowns” and its contributory factors, structure of communities, living arrangement, social and economic activities, and economic wellbeing. Data at individual, family and community levels in the 25 selected communities were collected. Preliminary results suggest that in addition to the household registration system and its associated policies, another factor, community housing ownership/management, also contributed to the formation of shantytowns in Chinese cities. Results suggest that migrants were economically worse off than local residents in all cities, with the exception of Shenyang where unemployment among locals was pronounced. Results show that migrants received much less benefits from urban system, either from public system or their employers.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Poster Session 5