Annual Review of Sociology 42

Zai Liang


ABSTRACT: During the last three decades, China has experienced the largest migration in human history. China’s great migration has had transformative social, economic, and demographic consequences for China and the world. In this review, first I provide background on China’s household registration system (hukou), which has been in existence since the late 1950s and continues to affect the life chances of Chinese people. Then I focus on the great migration by discussing research that has examined its causes, migration trends, the adaptation/assimilation of migrants in urban China, the well-being of migrant children, and migration’s impact on rural China. Finally, I identify key areas for future research and argue that China’s great migration holds major promise to contribute to the literature on migration studies.

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