The Health Disparity of Migrants, Return Migrants and Non-Migrants: A Life Course Perspective in the Case of Rural-to-Urban Migration in China

Yuying Tong, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Martin Piotrowski, University of Oklahoma

Using nationally representative data from the China Labor Force Dynamics Survey (CLDS) 2010, we examined health disparities across migrants, non-migrants and return migrants in the context of rural-to-urban migration in China. We find that a “health paradox” phenomenon exists in China’s internal migration context. In examining whether this is caused by health selectivity of migration, we the examined “Healthy people migrate” and “unhealthy migrants return” hypotheses and found that rural-to-urban migrants are less healthy than rural non-migrants in the young adulthood, but they are healthier than rural non-migrants in their older adulthood. In the meanwhile, the return migrants are less healthy than both rural non-migrants and on-going migrants in older adulthood but not in young adulthood, indicating a life course effect of health selectivity in migration or return. Our study sheds light on migration and health selectivity from the perspective of life course.

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Presented in Session 25: Migration, Health, and Reproduction