In many developing countries including China, large numbers of internal migrants move to cities from rural areas in pursuit of an urban dream. China’s massive migration has had transformative social, economic, and demographic consequences for the country and even the world. Rural-urban migrants are far from being integrated into the mainstream of urban communities.
I will first present the background to rural-urban migration and then conceptualize the social integration of rural-urban migrants, and use nationally representative data to describe the status of their social integration or lack thereof. I will go on to present a study that empirically investigates the link between social integration and mental health among rural-urban migrants.
The central government has made two attempts to expand social welfare to rural-urban migrants, hukou conversion and ad hoc social program expansion. I will finally provide evidence from Shaanxi Province to evaluate China’s migrant integration policy and discuss the migration-related institutional challenges it faces.