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Type: Thesis
Title: Big and Small City Preferences of Migrant Workers in China: Case Studies of Beijing and Jinzhou
Author: Li, Biqing
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences : Geography, Environment and Population
Abstract: Set in the New-Style Urbanisation era in China, this thesis focuses upon migrant workers in two case study cities—one super-large municipality Beijing and one small county-level city Jinzhou. The Chinese government put forward the New-Style Urbanisation policy in 2014 to combat the big city preferences of migrant workers and direct more of them into small cities and towns. This study has adopted a mixed methods approach and collected primary data through a face-to-face survey and in-depth interviews of migrant workers in Beijing and Jinzhou, which is supplemented with secondary data from various sources. The study found that migrant workers in Beijing had different characteristics than those in Jinzhou. They were relatively older, better educated, predominately male, and had more urban employment experiences than those in Jinzhou. Migrants had moved primarily for economic reasons, such as employment opportunities, in both Beijing and Jinzhou. However, many migrant workers in Jinzhou also chose that city because it was close to their hometown villages. Migrant workers were attracted to Beijing because it had more employment opportunities, higher wages, and better infrastructure and services, however, they were also faced with higher living costs, poor traffic conditions, more discrimination and lower social status. When asked about their migration intentions in the next five years, it was clear that migrant workers, especially those who were better educated with high incomes and good social networks, preferred larger urban centres to small cities or towns. Since the discontinuation of the ‘deportation policies’ in 2003, which made rural-urban migration illegal without according hukou conversion, Chinese citizens are now legally allowed to reside somewhere which does not match their hukou registration. However, the hierarchical hukou regulations, as advocated by the New-Style Urbanisation policies, appear to have prevented migrant workers from transferring their hukou from rural to urban in larger cities, and yet has not changed their migration intentions to go to those cities. In other words, little has changed in the preference of migrant workers for large cities, especially of those who are better educated with high incomes and good social networks. To improve the attractiveness of small cities and towns for migrant workers as preferable migration destination, this study suggests a significant change in the hierarchical resource distribution system across cities of different administrative ranks, especially in respect to fiscal allocation and resources, which are essential to create employment opportunities, to improve wages, to develop infrastructure, and to provide adequate education and medical services.
Advisor: Rudd, Dianne
Barrie, Helen Ruth
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2020
Keywords: Migration
migrant workers
big and small city preferences
migration decision making
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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