Urban labour market and de facto citizenship: Understanding migrant's settlement intention in China

Sisi Yang, Fei Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the changing role of traditional employment sector and the access to employment-related citizenship rights in affecting migrant workers' settlement intentions in China. Traditionally, migrants who are informally employed were viewed as unsettled groups in Chinese cities. However, the expanded employment-related citizenship rights provide more diverse channels for pursuing permanent urban settlement. We use data from China Migrants Dynamic Survey in 2013 to investigate migrant workers' permanent settlement intentions, taking into account their access to employment-related citizenship rights, employment sector, hukou status, social-economic attachments at the places of destination and origin, and regional variations. We found that self-employed and informally employed migrants held a stronger intention to pursue permanent settlement if they were protected by the local urban insurance schemes, the so-called “de facto” employment-related citizenship. The study suggests that the dichotomy of employment sectors, formal versus informal, in understanding migrants' settlement decision has been weakened in China.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2520
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number3
Early online date5 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • China
  • citizenship rights
  • migrants
  • settlement
  • urban labour market


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