Rural-to-urban migration, unfair treatment, and subjective social status in China

Stream: Chinese social policy: migration and belonging
Date: Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Time: 1.25 pm – 2.25 pm


Compared with rural residents, rural-to-urban migrants tend to have higher objective socioeconomic status, but subjectively report lower social status in the extant research. In consideration of the social inequality and barriers in China, it is likely that rural-to-urban migrants may experience unfair treatment during their migration process. Therefore, it is of interest to explore the role of unfair treatment in the relationship between rural-to-urban migration and subjective social status. The research question is: Does experience of unfair treatment mediate the associations between rural-to-urban migration and subjective rating of social status and income position, including individual social status, individual income position, and family social status? Using data retrieved from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), this study examines whether rural-to-urban migration is associated with experience of unfair treatment and further influences subjective social status after controlling for objective socioeconomic status (i.e., income, education, and employment). Propensity score matching is first employed to match rural-to-urban migrants with rural residents who are similar on observable characteristics. Then, mediation analysis is conducted using the “paramed” program in Stata. Anticipated outcomes and implications: This research will test the inter-relationship between rural-to-urban migration, unfair treatment, and subjective social status, using cross-sectional data, which may provide empirical evidence for policy makers to build a more equitable society and improve subjective social status of rural-to-urban migrants in China.


Zihong Deng (Presenter), UNSW
Zihong Deng is currently a HDR student at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW.