Migrant workers in China: Rights and security

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


China's urban-rural distinction leaves migrant workers insecure economically, politically, and socially. China's household registration system (hukou), initiated in 1958, is a governmental program for the purpose of helping the government control the movement of citizens within the country while distributing most of limited resources to urban residents. However, the urban-rural distinction has made migrant workers' life in cities challenging. Some cities such as Shanghai and Chengdu have provided comprehensive social insurance programs to cover migrant workers' healthcare, pensions, elderly care, and their children's education. China's economic situation and the current global economic recession have left millions of migrant workers unemployed. Migrant workers share little social and emotional space with their neighbors in cities. The welfare approach in China is not an effective mechanism to prevent threats to human security in times of economic downturn and social transition; such an approach lacks the necessary components to improve human capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-129
Number of pages16
JournalRegional Development Dialogue
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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