Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 631–657 | Cite as

Migration and young child nutrition: evidence from rural China

  • Ren Mu
  • Alan de Brauw
Original Paper


The unprecedented large-scale rural-to-urban migration in China has left many rural children living apart from their parents. In this study, we examine the impact of parental migration on the nutritional status of young children in rural areas. We use the interaction terms between wage growth, by gender, in provincial capital cities and initial village migrant networks as instrumental variables to account for migration selection. Our results show that parental migration has no significant effect on the height of children, but it improves their weight. We provide suggestive evidence that the improvement in weight may be achieved through increased access to tap water in migrant households.


Migration Children Nutrition Rural China 

JEL codes

I15 J61 O16 O12 



We are grateful to Nicole Garcia and Feng Huang for great research assistance. For very useful comments, we thank three anonymous referees, Joyce Chen, Kalena Cortes, Ranjita Misra, Hiroshi Ono, and seminar participants at the 2012 Allied Social Science Associations Annual Conference in Chicago, the Asian Studies Forum at Texas A&M University, and the 2013 Population Association of America Conference in New Orleans.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Bush School of Government and Public ServiceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)WashingtonUSA

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