Assessing the impact of internal labour migration on intergenerational support, health and income: the cases of China and South Africa

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Social Sciences


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.
Description The project's objectives in terms of identifying available datasets and promoting the collaboration between researchers from the three countries have been achieved. In addition, through the analysis of datasets in China and South Africa, the multi-disciplinary research team has contributed to our understanding of the wellbeing of children and older people 'left behind' by economic migrants.

Using the 2006 Survey on Migrant Workers in Five Chinese Cities, Zhen Wang and Zhong Wei showed that economic migrants with children 'left behind' tend to remit more often and higher amounts, compared to economic migrants who only have older parents 'left behind'. This paper was presented at the 2012 conference of the British Society of Population Studies, and is currently being prepared for submission to a Chinese academic journal.

Through analysis of the South African 2008 National Income Dynamics Survey, and focusing on people aged 60 and over 'left behind', Athina Vlachantoni, Maria Evandrou, Jane Falkingham and Jackie Wahba found that living in a household which included economic migrants was associated with the receipt of remittances and a relatively 'better off' economic position, as well as with poorer health, compared to living in a household with no economic migrants.

The analysis of the 2010 China Urban Employment & Social Security Survey by Xiaobo Qu and Yue Qu showed that the wage level and education level of economic migrants were key determinants of remitting to children and older parents 'left behind', with older migrants earning higher wages being more likely to remit than younger migrants with lower wages.

Qiang Ren, Lucy Jordan and Jane Falkingham analysed the Chinese Family Panel Study and showed that children whose one or both parents were economic migrants were more likely to walk at a later point than children with both parents at home. This paper has been accepted for presentation at the 2013 conference of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population in South Korea.

Analysis of the pilot China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) by Yekai Chen, Maria Evandrou, Jane Falkingham and Athina Vlachantoni showed that older people living in households with no resident children and with no children living within 10 kms were less likely to be contacted or visited by their children, compared to older people living with some resident children, or with children living within 10 kms. The preliminary analysis of this pilot dataset, which focused on two provinces in China, provided a launching pad for the commencement of a MPhil/ PhD in Gerontology by postgraduate student Yekai Chen at the University of Southampton, analysing the newly-released wave 1 of the dataset, including 7 provinces in China.

Finally, using data from the two Demographic Surveillance Studies (Agincourt and Africa Centre), Mark Collinson, Rachel Bennett, Antonbam Samuel Kojo and Victoria Hosegood examined the relative mortality risk for children whose mother or father was an economic migrant. This paper was presented at the 2012 conference of the British Society of Population Studies, and is currently being prepared for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.
Description ESRC SDAI Understanding quality of life and well-being of older people - Case studies of China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
Amount £158,613 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/L014084/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2015 
End 12/2016
Description ESRC-DFID call Migration and the Reshaping of Consumption Patterns
Amount £390,356 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/L015684/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2015 
End 07/2018
Description International symposium on migration, economic and social development in modern China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The aim of this international seminar is to examine the evidence of contemporary migration impact on societies and human development in China and to understand the complexities and challenges in designing policies and programme interventions needed for improving the livelihood of migrants living in urban areas and their left-behind in rural areas.

Raised the profile of CPC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013