A Rural migrant community in urban Beijing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary/reference book


Based on the findings from an intensive community-based study, this paper examines the life and experience of rural migrants in urban Beijing in the late 1990s. Using intensive interview and observation methods, as well as data from quantitative surveys, the study has sketched a multi-dimensional profile of this community. The economic activities and occupational structure of migrants are examined. Interactions between members of the local community and migrants and among members of migrants are analyzed. Results from the study suggest that although we have witnessed a flow of massive rural to urban migration in China since the late 1970s, it is not sensible to conclude that a massive rural/urban integration process has been taking place on the same scale. Occupational segregation in contemporary Chinese society is legitimized by government regulations. Regardless of their active economic activities in urban society, rural migrants have always been outsiders in terms of social life in the city. Individual migrants and migrants as a group do not have equal access to urban labor market in formal sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEOLSS - Encyclopedia of life support systems
Editors The UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherEOLSS Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • rural-to-urban migration
  • migrant community
  • occupation
  • assimilation
  • economic reforms
  • Household registration system (Hukou)
  • urban community


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