Patterns of Temporary Migration of Rural Women in China

Kenneth Roberts, Southwestern University
Rachel Connelly, Bowdoin College
Zhenzhen Zheng, Peking University
Zhenming Xie, China Population Information Research Center

Studies of Chinese labor migration, while beginning to recognize the importance of women, often stereotype their experiences because of data limitations. Our study is based upon a recent sample of 3,186 rural women from two of the major sending provinces of China. One third of these women had migrated, and information was collected on the timing of their migration relative to marriage and childbearing, accompanying family members, and childcare provisions, as well as occupation, earnings, and living conditions in their destinations, for up to six migration episodes. Preliminary analysis shows that the common conception that most young women migrate before marriage and return to their villages to settle down, marry and bear children is incorrect: more women migrate after marriage than before, and half of these migrate with their husbands. Some women become "serial migrants," others migrate only once. This paper explores these patterns and their determinants.

Presented in Session 143: Perspectives on Migration