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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Coping with the Urban Environment? Gender Disadvantage, Social Inequalities and Wellbeing of Economic Migrants in China

China has experienced unprecedented economic growth in the last few decades since moving towards a liberalised market economy, but these developments have also triggered considerable population and environmental challenges in cities and urban areas exacerbated by mass movement of economic migrants from rural areas. Recent trends in rural-urban flows show an emerging pattern of feminisation of migration in China, prompted by the availability of cheap labour and increasing demand for women workforce in service sectors, construction sites, manufacturing industries and household service jobs in big cities.

The vast majority of women who migrate from rural areas lack proper skills and education and end up in poorly paid menial jobs and forced labour in big cities. Their living conditions are usually constrained in big cities in terms of access to housing, health and education. The extent of heterogeneity in demographic and health behaviours within the migrant population is not systematically investigated. This is critical in China where the scale of rural-urban migration is substantial and gender intensified. Using micro data from three recent population surveys, this project investigates the socioeconomic and gender inequalities within different migrant groups and the associated impact on health behaviours and wellbeing.