Social capital and community participation among migrant workers in China

Neal A. Palmer, Douglas D. Perkins, Qingwen Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In China, rapid development has prompted massive migration from rural to urban areas. Migrants' participation in Urban Residents Committees (URCs) and other community organizations offers opportunities for the development of social capital and democracy in contemporary China. We use 2006 survey data from a stratified convenience sample of 3,024 migrant workers in 7 Chinese cities to examine individual and community social capital and their relation to 3 types of community participation: (a) amount of contact with community organizations, (b) frequency of help sought from community organizations, and (c) the rate of participation in URC meetings. Multiple regressions yield, among 12 measures of individual and community-focused social capital, only neighborhood interaction and organizational social capital as consistently and significantly associated for all 3 types of participation. Other measures were associated with certain types of participation, or were nonsignificant. Implications for migration policy, community participation, and social capital in China are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-105
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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