China’s Rural-Urban Migration and Children’s Opportunities and Outcomes in Compulsory Education

Lingxin Hao, Johns Hopkins University
Xiao Yu, Johns Hopkins University

Guided by education inequality theories and based on a nationally-representative survey, this paper examines the relationship between rural-urban migration and compulsory education equality. The urban sample analysis shows that brought-along children have equal or better opportunities in school facilities than their urban native counterparts. While this is a bright sign of moving toward equality of opportunities, we do not see the same sign in more subtle school qualities. Neither does our rural sample analysis show that left-behind children would enjoy greater learning opportunities than children of non-migrants perhaps due to remittances. When turning to developmental outcomes, we find that both brought-along and left-behind children fare worse than their respective native counterparts. These findings suggest that serious policy and program intervention efforts are needed to achieve greater compulsory education equality. Additional steps include comparisons between brought-along and left-behind children and multivariate analysis of all three comparisons to aid a better understanding.

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 Presented in Session P8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity