China’s rapid economic growth since the late 1980s has been accompanied by great economic and social transformations, which have resulted in a sharp increase in income inequality. This article contributes to the literature of social mobility in China by examining the impact of parental education on the education of their children. Using the 1990 and 2000 Chinese Population Censuses, we employ nonparametric estimation strategies to provide a systematic investigation of intergenerational transmission of education in urban China. We find evidence of increasing parents–children educational correlations. Our results raise concerns regarding economic inequality in urban China as high intergenerational persistence of education is expected to be a barrier to equal opportunities in children’s education attainments and their future labour market outcomes.