Research Articles

Regional suitability for settling rural migrants in urban China

  • 1. Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development, CAAS, Beijing 100081, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
Chen Yangfen, Ph.D, specialized in agricultural policy, rural land management, and rural development. E-mail:

Received date: 2013-01-25

  Revised date: 2013-06-20

  Online published: 2013-11-14

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41101165; No.41001109; No.41130748


Despite rapid urbanization, more than 200 million people living in urban areas are still registered as‘agricultural’and are ineligible for most social benefits under China's Hukou (or household registration) system. This paper identifies the regional suitability for settling rural migrants in urban China based on three indicators (the degree of urgency, the skills and ability of the resettled community to adapt, and the ability of the government to support that resettlement). It takes 2008 government socioeconomic data from a county level into consideration. Spatial, statistical, and decision tree analyses, supported by SPSS, Geodata, and ArcGIS software, show that there are five separate population types, each with different degrees of suitability. These include highly suitable region, region suitable for settling migrants to outside regions, region suitable for settling migrants from outside regions, region with moderate potential, and unsuitable region. This paper suggests that regional policies for settling rural migrants are meaningful, since the five regions are distributed relatively separately. Due to the suitability for different bodies across regions, equal treatment should be applied to both the native migrants and that across counties and provinces. Furthermore, demolishment of the social welfare discrimination adhered to Hukou system and equalization of basic public services will be of more practical significance than the so-called settling rural migrants actively and steadily.

Cite this article

CHEN Yangfen, WANG Jieyong, LIU Yansui, LI Xiande . Regional suitability for settling rural migrants in urban China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2013 , 23(6) : 1136 -1152 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-013-1068-9


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