The household registration system and migrant labor in China: notes on a debate

Popul Dev Rev. 2010;36(2):357-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2010.00333.x.

Abstract

The household registration (hukou) system in China, classifying each person as a rural or an urban resident, is a major means of controlling population mobility and determining eligibility for state-provided services and welfare. Established in the late 1950s, it was initially used to bar rural-to-urban migration. After the late 1970s reforms, an inflow of rural migrant workers was allowed into the cities to meet labor demands in the burgeoning export industries and urban services without, however, changing the migrants' registered status, thus precluding their access to subsidized housing and other benefits available to those with urban registration. While there have been many calls for reforming this system, progress has been limited. Proposed reforms have attracted increasing academic and media attention.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • China / ethnology
  • Employment / economics
  • Employment / history
  • Employment / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Employment / psychology
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Political Systems / history
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Population Groups* / education
  • Population Groups* / ethnology
  • Population Groups* / history
  • Population Groups* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Population Groups* / psychology
  • Public Assistance / economics
  • Public Assistance / history
  • Public Assistance / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Registries*
  • Social Control Policies* / economics
  • Social Control Policies* / history
  • Social Control Policies* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Social Support
  • Social Welfare* / economics
  • Social Welfare* / ethnology
  • Social Welfare* / history
  • Social Welfare* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Social Welfare* / psychology
  • Vital Statistics