Labor Migration and People Left Behind in China

Yao Lu, Columbia University

Migration and remittances have become a major household strategy and source of income in rural China. However, few studies examine the influence of migration on the well-being of household members left behind, and whether such effects extend to social welfare with respect to education and health. Using data from the first national representative study that collects comprehensive information on migration and health in China, we examine the relationship between labor out-migration and 1) different aspects of health of adults left behind (self-reports as well as biomarkers, and physical as well as mental health) and 2) children’s school attendance in rural communities. We further consider several competing possibilities through which migration may affect education and health, including improvement of household livelihood through remittances, and loss of social and physical support due to absence of household members.

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Presented in Poster Session 5