Hukou and educational policies in Shanghai: Selective incorporation of migrant children in big cities of China

Authors: Xiaxia Yang*, University of Washington
Topics: China, Migration, Population Geography
Keywords: Children, migration, education, hukou, China
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 25
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

China has a hukou system that limits the provision of public service and does not grant full citizenship to non-local migrant population. As the largest city in terms of urban population in China, Shanghai is one of the major destinations of China’s internal migration. Defined by one’s hukou status, there were as many as 1.32 million migrant children stock in Shanghai in 2015. The lives of these children are severely affected by local policies, with the hukou and educational policies being the most potent ones. These policies give segmented school opportunities to migrant children according to the "contribution" of their migrant parents to the city. As a result, migrant children find it increasingly hard to remain in Shanghai together with their parents as they grow older and request schooling resources especially beyond the basic compulsory education. This phenomenon is not unique in Shanghai; rather, it is part and parcel of China’s development strategy in the reform era since the 1980s. Through inquiring the levers, drivers, and discourse of the hukou and educational policies in Shanghai, this study examines the selective incorporation of migrant children under strong state contexts.

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