Migrant Integration in Urban China: A Multi-Dimensional and Multi-Level Analysis

Authors: Cindy Fan*, UCLA, Yulin Chen, Tsinghua University, Hao Wang, China Agricultural University
Topics: Migration, Urban Geography, China
Keywords: Rural Migrants, Urban Migrants, Integration, Cities, China
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Integration is an important concept in the research on migrants and immigrants. How and whether migrants are integrated into China’s urban society has serious implications for the entire nation, given their large volume and long duration of stay. Most studies of migrant integration in China focus on individual cities and rural migrants only and rarely consider multiple dimensions of integration. Drawing from integration theory and using data from a nationwide survey of 75 cities, we estimate multi-level models to investigate both rural and urban migrants’ integration, along the economic, cultural, social, and identity dimensions, and assess factors at the individual, community, and city levels. Our findings show that the four integration dimensions are distinct yet interrelated. Economic integration does not necessarily foster social interactions and a sense of belonging, while cultural, social and identity integrations are mutually reinforcing. Having urban hukou does not matter as much as having local hukou or access to local resources and benefits. The results suggest that China's urban policy should pay attention to both rural migrants and urban migrants, foster urbanization near their place of origin, and facilitate their home purchase.

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