Handbook of Welfare in China
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Handbook of Welfare in China

Edited by Beatriz Carrillo, Johanna Hood and Paul Kadetz

The Handbook is a timely compilation dedicated to exploring a rare diversity of perspectives and content on the development, successes, reforms and challenges within China’s contemporary welfare system. It showcases an extensive introduction and 20 original chapters by leading and emerging area specialists who explore a century of welfare provision from the Nationalist era, up to and concentrating on economic reform and marketisation (1978 to the present). Organised around five key concerns (social security and welfare; emerging issues and actors; gaps; future challenges) chapters draw on original case-based research from diverse disciplines and perspectives, engage existing literature and further key debates.
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Chapter 10: Rural-to-urban migrants: access to welfare services and integration into urban life

Juan Chen


In light of the rapid urbanization process and the associated social and welfare reforms in China since the 21st century, this chapter examines rural-to urban migrants’ access to urban social services and integration into various aspects of urban life, based on analysis of the 2011 Migration and Quality of Life Survey data. Results present a mixed picture: in the areas of occupation, industry, health status and receipt of medical treatment, rural-to-urban migrants did not face more discrimination than urban residents; neither did they report higher levels of perceived institutional or interpersonal discrimination. However, they were still excluded from jobs in the State sector, and their identity was closely linked to their rural background. Nonetheless, rural-to-urban migrants did not show a lesser degree of involvement in urban community activities or a greater inclination to move out of their host city than urban residents or urbanized rural residents after socio-demographic characteristics, particularly homeownership, were controlled in the analysis. Given that rural-to-urban migrants represent a significant proportion of the urban population but have not enjoyed the same citizenship rights of urban dwellers, such an investigation provides essential insights for improving the efficacy of social and welfare reforms in China. Particularly, ongoing pro-urbanization policies must be accompanied by measures to grant rural-to-urban migrants equal access to jobs in the State sector; to urban health insurance and medical services; and to stable and affordable housing in the host cities.

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