Consequences of Migration for Left behind Children in China

Zai Liang, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Bo Zhou, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

Using data from the 2012 China Labor Dynamics Survey, we examine consequences of migration for left behind children in rural China. We use a comprehensive set of outcome measures: academic achievement, participation in tutorial classes, education related spending, participation in volunteer work, and participation in paid work. Using a variety of migration measures (past migration experience, current migration experience, interprovincial vs. intraprovincial migration), our results show that children whose parents are either return migrants or current migrants tend to have unfavorable education outcomes as well as low level of participation in volunteer work. The paper raises serious concerns about the consequences of migration for the well-being of 60 million left behind children in China. Methodologically, our findings also confirm that cross-sectional research design that captures only current migration experience will underestimate the impact of parental migration on children.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households