Rural–Urban Migration in China and Indonesia
Edited by Xin Meng, Chris Manning, Li Shi and Tadjuddin Nur Effendi
6 Rural-Urban Migration and Poverty in China Chuliang Luo and Ximing Vue 1 INTRODUCTION Two of the most striking features of the Chinese economy over the past three decades have been the substantial decline in poverty in rural areas and the sharp increase in migration from rural to urban areas. According to official statistics, the rural poverty rate fell from 30.7 per cent in 1978 to 3.4 per cent in 2000 and 2.3 per cent in 2006. China's official poverty statistics are often criticized for their use of a very low poverty line, but even if stricter standards are applied to the cut-off line for poverty, it is still clear that China has made remarkable achievements in reducing the extent of rural poverty (Chen and Ravallion 2008). Rural-to-urban migration is a common phenomenon in the process of economic development, affecting both the rural societies that send migrants and the urban societies that receive them. In countries with a widening gap between the rural and urban economies, such as China, the effect of migration on income and poverty will depend on whether the marginal product of labour is negative or positive, and whether there is surplus labour. I If the marginal product of labour in a rural area is negative, then the migration of rural workers to the cities will improve the welfare of the household members remaining behind in the countryside, not only through the remittances that the migrant members send home, but also through the increase in productivity of...
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