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Journal article

Rural migrant workers in urban China: living a marginalised life




D. F. K. Wong, Chiang Ying Li, and He Xue Song


The rural migrant worker population in China is attracting more and more attention because of its magnitude and potential economic and social impact on Chinese society. While literature abounds in describing the demographic trends and economic impacts of rural to urban migration, very few articles have been written about the psychosocial impacts of migration on the lives of rural migrant workers in urban China. Drawing on the concept of marginalisation, this article describes the nature and characteristics of marginalised living experienced by migrant workers. More importantly, it examines the underlying policy issues contributing to such marginalised living. It is argued that the Hukou system (household registration system), the process of decentralisation and the obscure role of trade unions have contributed to the experience of marginalisation of rural migrant workers in urban cities in China. Implications for policy changes are also discussed. [References: 35]

Journal title

International Journal of Social Welfare



Page numbers


File Attachments


Economic sectors

Occupations in services - Domestic work, Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations, Construction trades helpers and labourers, Harvesting labourers, and Occupations in manufacturing and utilities - general

Content types

Statistics on work and life conditions

Target groups


Geographical focuses


Spheres of activity

Health sciences, Psychology, Sociology, and Social work