With a population of 1.38 billion, China is a large and diverse country located in East Asia. Data on internal migration have been collected since 1987, primarily by means of decennial censuses and inter-censual surveys, with questions focussing on both lifetime and recent (five-year) migration, reasons for moving and mover characteristics. The 2010 Census data show the Chinese to be moderately mobile with an ACMI approaching 14%, up from 12.8% in 2000. Like other Asian nations, China displays an early migration profile, with a peak at age 20 driven by a combination of employment and education-related reasons for both sexes, and by marriage for females. With about 50% of its population residing in cities, China is in the midst of its urban transition and is dominated by rural to urban migration from western and central provinces to the east. High levels of migration effectiveness coupled with moderate intensities underpin intermediate levels of population redistribution. The majority of migrants have relocated to urban areas without local hukou (household registration) at their destination, giving rise to a large ‘floating population’. Ongoing hukou reform will shape future migration processes.
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I would like to thank Martin Bell, Yu Zhu, Aude Bernard, Elin Charles-Edwards and Gordon Kee for their comments and help with some data and figures. This work was supported by a research grant from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Project No. 4052139).
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Shen, J. (2020). Internal Migration in China. In: Bell, M., Bernard, A., Charles-Edwards, E., Zhu, Y. (eds) Internal Migration in the Countries of Asia. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44010-7_4
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