China's Left-Behind Children: Impact of Parental Migration on Health, Nutrition, and Educational Outcomes

Posted: 22 Mar 2017

See all articles by Chengchao Zhou

Chengchao Zhou

Shandong University

Sean Sylvia

Renmin University of China - School of Economics

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Renfu Luo

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP)

Hongmei Yi

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University

Prashant Kumar Loyalka

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students; Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Alexis Medina

Stanford University

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Date Written: March 20, 2017

Abstract

China’s rapid development and urbanization have induced large numbers of rural residents to migrate from their homes to urban areas in search of better job opportunities. Parents typically leave their children behind with a caregiver, creating a new, potentially vulnerable subpopulation of left-behind children in rural areas. A growing number of policies and nongovernmental organization efforts target these children. The primary objective of this study was to examine whether left-behind children are really the most vulnerable and in need of special programs. Pulling data from a comprehensive data set covering 141,000 children in ten provinces (from twenty-seven surveys conducted between 2009 and 2013), we analyzed nine indicators of health, nutrition, and education. We found that for all nine indicators, left-behind children performed as well as or better than children living with both parents. However, both groups of children performed poorly on most of these indicators. Based on these findings, we recommend that special programs designed to improve health, nutrition, and education among left-behind children be expanded to cover all children in rural China.

Suggested Citation

Zhou, Chengchao and Sylvia, Sean and Zhang, Linxiu and Luo, Renfu and Yi, Hongmei and Liu, Chengfang and Shi, Yaojiang and Loyalka, Prashant and Chu, James and Medina, Alexis and Rozelle, Scott, China's Left-Behind Children: Impact of Parental Migration on Health, Nutrition, and Educational Outcomes (March 20, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2937682

Chengchao Zhou

Shandong University ( email )

27 Shanda Nanlu
South Rd.
Jinan, Shandong 250100
China

Sean Sylvia

Renmin University of China - School of Economics ( email )

No. 59, Zhongguancun Street
Beijing, Beijing 100080
China

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy ( email )

Anwai, Beijing, 100101
China

Renfu Luo

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) ( email )

Building 917, Datun Road
Beijing 100101
China

Hongmei Yi (Contact Author)

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University ( email )

Room 412, Wangkezhen Buidling, Peking Unviersity
Beijing, 100871
China

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) ( email )

52 Sanlihe Rd.
Datun Road, Anwai
Beijing, Xicheng District 100864
China

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University ( email )

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710062
China

Prashant Loyalka

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students ( email )

Stanford
United States

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Alexis Medina

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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