Roles of Children and Elderly in Migration Decision of Adults: Case from Rural China

Yingying Zhou, University of Washington

Recent migration studies are paying growing attention to migration effects in sending communities, particularly, the effects on wellbeing of family members staying behind. But won’t migrants have family considerations in the first place when making migration decisions? This study attempts to explore how presence of children and elderly affects migration, and if those effects vary with specific household demographic situations. It looks at rural China, where urbanization has been taking place with surging out-migration and changing household structure, while social safety net is still under-established. Using the longitudinal data from CHNS, we find that presence of children or elderly does reduce the likelihood of migration, but only for women; and while having elderly at home does not help much with child care support as originally expected, having more adults at home does help relieve elderly care pressure for migrants. The study has important implications for development of social support and urbanization in China.

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Presented in Poster Session 7