The study of contemporary China constitutes a fascinating yet challenging area of scholarly inquiry. Recent decades have brought dramatic changes to China's economy, society and governance. Analyzing such changes in the context of multiple disciplinary perspectives offers opportunites as well as challenges for scholars in the field known as contemporary China Studies. The SAGE Handbook of Contemporary China is a two-volume exploration of the transformations of contemporary China, firmly grounded in the both disciplinary and China-specific contexts. Drawing on a range of scholarly approaches found in the social sciences and history, an international team of contributors engage with the question of what a rapidly changing China means for the broader field of contemporary China studies, and identify areas of promising future research. Part 1: Context: History, Economy, and the Environment Part 2: Economic Transformations Part 3: Politics and Government Part 4: China on the Global Stage Part 5: China's Foreign Policy Part 6: National and Nested Identities Part 7: Urbanization and Spatial Development Part 8: Poverty and Inequality Part 9: Social Change Part 10: Future Directions for Contemporary China Studies
Chapter 40: Population Mobility and Migration
Population Mobility and Migration
China's level of urbanization was only 18% in 1978 and it skyrocketed to 56% by 2015 (Jiang, 2016: 23; Wu, 2016). Such rapid urbanization was a result of not only speedy economic growth but also massive rural–urban migration, which has turned China from a relatively immobile society to one that hosts the largest population movements in the world today. The ‘floating population,’ a common indicator of migration in China, amounted to about 300 million or about 22% of the population in 2015 (NBS, 2015).
Migration is one of the most burning questions of China today not only because of its magnitude but because it is central to understanding China's economic and ...