Gender, Migration, and Hukou Status Mobility during China’s Massive Urbanization

Jun Xiang, Chinese University of Hong Kong

What has the rapid economic development and tremendous social changes shaped the gender inequality in China? The past literature has examined the gender gap on earnings or occupational attainment for either urban or rural residents, or rural migrants. However, less attention has been paid on the gender inequality on the attainment of urban household registration (hukou), which is crucial for not only rural migrants’ occupational attainment, but also their access to social welfare. Using a 2008 nationally representative dataset, this paper attempts to examine the gender inequality in hukou conversion for rural migrants. The results show gender-specific pathways in hukou conversion, with men mainly relying on educational or occupational pathways, whereas women using marriage. Further, although the probability of hukou conversion appears equal between genders, rural women have limited opportunities for upward mobility other than marriage with signs of exchange, due to the patriarchal culture and discrimination in labor market.

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 Presented in Session P6. Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment