Interprovincial Return Migration in China: Individual and Contextual Determinants

Zai Liang, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Miao David Chunyu, Brown University
Yingfeng Wu, Stony Brook University, State University of New York (SUNY)

This paper provides a systematic analysis of inter-provincial return migration to Sichuan province, a key migrant-sending province in China. Using the 1995 China 1% Population Sample Survey data, we developed an innovative method to identify return migrants as well as active migrants from Sichuan who remained in their destinations. This enabled us to investigate the selectivity and determinants of return migration at various levels. We find that return migrants tend to be negatively selected in age and education. Results from multi-level models show that the labor market conditions as well as migrant networks in the destination areas play important roles in return migration behavior. Poorly educated migrants who resided in places with high unemployment rates are more likely to return than well educated migrants. We also examine return migrants’ participation in non-farm work, but did not find a significant difference in the probability of participation between return migrants and non-migrants.

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Presented in Session 97: Internal Migration in LDCs