Longitudinal Survey on Rural Urban Migration in China
Data Set Description
The Longitudinal Survey on Rural Urban Migration in China (RUMiC) consists of three parts: the Urban Household Survey, the Rural Household Survey and the Migrant Household Survey. It was initiated by a group of researchers at the Australian National University, the University of Queensland and the Beijing Normal University and was supported by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), which provides the Scientific Use Files. The financial support for RUMiC was obtained from the Australian Research Council, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Ford Foundation, IZA and the Chinese Foundation of Social Sciences.
RUMiC was established to study the patterns and effects of migration in China and was designed to provide a longitudinal dataset covering a five-year time span.
It collects data on three populations:
- Rural households both with and without migrants (through the Rural Household Survey)
- Urban resident households (through the Urban Household Survey)
- Rural-to-urban migrants (through the Urban Migrant Survey)
The research topics of the RUMiC comprise the welfare status of migrants: their jobs, incomes, physical and mental health, their children?s education and health, and the extent to which they assimilate into their city communities. The questionnaires obtained individual- and household-level information.
The individual-level component covers four areas:
1) Household composition
2) Adult education
3) Adult employment
The household head answered questions covering:
1) Social networks
2) Lifecycle events
3) Household income
4) Household assets
5) Housing conditions
6) Information on the rural home village
The employment section focuses on the labor market performance of adults. Different questions were asked to salaried workers, the self-employed and unemployed. For the Migrant Survey, selected questions were also asked regarding migrants? first job in the city.
Children's module surveys children aged 0-15 or over 15 but still at school. The Migrant Survey covers both children who live in the city with their parents and those left behind in the countryside. The Rural Survey only covers children whose parents did not migrate. The same questions are used in both surveys.
The social network section contained several sub-sections covering also the network of spouses not present in the household, of children aged over 15, of the parents of both the household head and the spouse. Questions also cover the employment and education status of up to five closest contacts.
The survey locations are primarily based on whether a province is one of the major sending or receiving regions.
The Rural Household Survey was conducted in 9 provinces: Anhui, Chongqing, Guangdong, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Zhejiang.
The Urban Migrant Survey was conducted in the following 15 cities, which are provincial capital cities or other major migrant receiving cities: Bengbu, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Hefei, Hangzhou, Luoyang, Nanjing, Ningbo, Shanghai, Shenzen, Wuhan, Wuxi, Zhengzhou.
The Urban Household Survey was conducted in 19 cities and includes the following additional cities to the Urban Migrant Survey: Anyang, Jiande, Leshan and Mianyang.
The RUMiC survey is designed to provide a longitudinal dataset covering a four-year time span, tracking respondents so long as they remain in the surveyed cities and villages. The Rural and Urban Household Surveys follow a normal tracking method used in any longitudinal surveys with subjects having permanent living addresses. In general, the attrition rate for these two populations is within the normal range. Between the first and the second waves, the attrition rate for the Rural Household Survey was 1% and for the Urban Household Survey was 5.7%. The attrition rates for these two samples increased between the second and the third waves due to the change in survey conductor, but they still remain in a low range.
The tracking for the Urban Migrant Survey, however, is more difficult. The pre-test results indicate that migrant workers on average stay in a city for around 3 years, and none who lived in a residential address stays for more than a year. To ensure the tracking result, the survey team recorded the individual migrants? work and home addresses and other contact details in the cities as well as their home villages. We also recorded the phone numbers of three close relatives or friends of each interviewee so that we could track them even if they and their households moved. In addition, the team designed a tracking incentive scheme of three lotteries each year, with prizes from 50 to 2000 Yuan. Despite these efforts, the attrition rate for the Urban Migrant Survey has been very high.
The survey does not track returning migrants due to high costs. Between the first and the second wave, partly due to the high mobility and partly due to the global financial crisis, the attrition rate for the Urban Migrant Survey was 64%. In the subsequent waves the attrition rate gradually came down with the second to the third wave attrition rate being 52% and the third to the fourth wave rate being 43%.
The RUMiC survey was part of the RUMiCI project, which included surveys conducted in Indonesia. The Indonesian datasets will be soon publicly available. For detailed information see http://rse.anu.edu.au/rumici/;
For detailed information on sampling design and tracking (including methodology and implementation manuals), see:
- Gong, X., Kong, S. T., Li, S., and Meng, X. (2008) Rural-urban migrants: a driving force for growth, in Ligang Song and Wing Thye Woo (eds) China's Dilemma, Canberra: Asia Pacific Press;
- Meng, Kong, and Zhang (2010) How much do we know about the impact of the economic downturn on the employment of migrants?, ADBI Working Paper Series No. 194.
- Kong, S. T. (2010): Rural-Urban Migration in China: Survey Design and Implementation. In: Meng, Xin and Manning, Chris (Eds.) with Shi, Li and Effendi, Tadjuddin The Great Migration: Rural-Urban Migration in China and Indonesia, Edward Elgar Publ. Ltd. 2010.
In China the Rural and Urban Household Surveys are conducted by China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and the migrant survey by Datasea Marketing Research, a survey organization. The Rural Household Survey covers nine provinces, and the Urban Migrant Survey covers 15 cities in nine provinces or metropolitan areas.
The sampling design of the Rural and Urban Household Surveys are based on that of the Annual Rural Household Survey and Annual Urban Household Survey conducted by the NBS.
The sampling design of the Migrant Survey was a team effort. In particular, Mr. Liangming Lu, Prof. Xin Meng, Dr. Xiaodong Gong, Prof. Paul Frijters, Dr. Tao Kong, Dr. Tue Gorgens and Dr. Stephen Horn all contributed to the design.
The distribution of the sample size across the 15 cities is loosely associated with the overall population size of the city. Within each city the sampling frame is defined on the bases of workplaces rather than residence. This is mainly because a sizable proportion of migrant workers in China live in workplace dormitories, construction sites and other workplaces. Thus, the residential based sampling will be biased due to the omission of this group of migrants.
All businesses, including street vendors, in randomly selected enumeration areas within defined city boundaries are included. During a listing process the total number of workers and the total number of migrant workers in each workplace are recorded. This allows the survey team to estimate the total size of the migrant worker population in each city. The listing-based information on the size of the migrant population is designed to be representative of that city and to provide a sampling frame for subsequent random sampling.
Based on the listing data, a simple random sample of a requisite number of migrant workers for each city and within each workplace is selected. The enumerators are given the number of people to be selected within each workplace. They then return to the workplaces and, based on a randomly selected birth month, select the final sample migrant workers. Once individual migrants are selected, the enumerator makes an appointment with them to interview the individuals and their family.
Scope of Data Set
Time Periods: 2008 - 2009
The Longitudinal Survey on Rural Urban Migration in China (RUMiC) consists of three parts: the Urban Household Survey, the Rural Household Survey and the Migrant Household Survey. It was initiated by a group of researchers at the Australian National University, the University of Queensland and the Beijing Normal University and was supported by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), which provides the Scientific Use Files. The financial support for RUMiC was obtained from the Australian Research Council, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Ford Foundation, IZA and the Chinese Foundation of Social Sciences.In text this should be the citation.
Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). Australian National University, the University of Queensland and the Beijing Normal University (2014), Longitudinal Survey on Rural Urban Migration in China (RUMiC) (yyyy – yyyy years of data suing in your analysis). International Data Service Center of IZA (IDSC). Version 1.0. doi:10.15185/izadp.7680.1In references this should be the citation.
- Wu, Y., Pieters, J., & Heerink, N. (2021). The gender wage gap among China’s rural–urban migrants. Review of Development Economics, 25(1), 23-47.
- Bansak, C., Jiang, X. & Yang, G. (2020). Sibling Spillover in Rural China: A Story of Sisters and Daughters. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13127.
- Dang, H. A. H., Huang, Y., & Selod, H. (2020). Children Left Behind in China: The Role of School Fees. IZA Journal of Development and Migration, 11(1).
- Dustmann, C., Fasani, F., Meng, X., & Minale, L. (2020). Risk attitudes and household migration decisions. Journal of Human Resources, 1019-10513R1.
- Giles, J. & Huang, Y. (2020). Migration and human capital accumulation in China. IZA World of Labor: 476.
- Hung, J. (2020). Psychosocial Wellbeing Among Rural Migrant Workers in China: Did the 2008 Financial Crisis Worsen Their Vulnerability?. Asian Social Science, 16(1).
- Luo, X. (2020). How Does Parental Out-migration Affect Left-behind Children’s Schooling Outcomes?–Effect Sizes and Mechanisms.
- Ma, C., Qu, Z., & Xu, Z. (2020). Internal Migration and Mental Health: An Examination of the Healthy Migration Phenomenon in China. Population Research and Policy Review, 39(3), 493-517.
- Meng, X., & Xue, S. (2020). Social networks and mental health outcomes: Chinese rural–urban migrant experience. Journal of population economics, 33(1), 155-195.
- ten Hoeve, Y. (2020). The Chinese dream, a migrant’s nightmare?. LUP Student Papers
- Wang, C., Akgüҫ, M., Liu, X., & Tani, M. (2020). Expropriation with hukou change and labour market outcomes in China. China Economic Review, 60, 101391.
- Wang, Z., Lou, Y., & Zhou, Y. (2020). Bargaining Power or Specialization? Determinants of Household Decision Making in Chinese Rural Migrant Families. SAGE Open, 10(4), 2158244020980446.
- Wang, Z., Wu, Q., & Ming, J. (2020). Split household and smoking behavior of rural migrants in China. Research Square.
- Wu, Y., & Xiao, H. (2020). The Labor Contract Law and the economic integration of rural migrants in urban China. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 29(4), 532-552.
- Wu, Y., & Xiao, H. (2020). Rural–urban migration and childrearing values of rural migrants in contemporary China. Chinese Journal of Sociology, 6(3), 364-383.
- Xiao, W., & Zhao, G. (2020). Who is affected: Influence of agricultural land on occupational choices of peasants in China. Land Use Policy, 99, 104827.
- Xie, S., Chen, J., Ritakallio, V. M., & Leng, X. (2020). Welfare migration or migrant selection? Social insurance participation and rural migrants’ intentions to seek permanent urban settlement in China. Urban Studies, 0042098020936153.
- Yue, A., Bai, Y., Shi, Y., Luo, R., Rozelle, S., Medina, A., & Sylvia, S. (2020). Parental Migration and Early Childhood Development in Rural China. Demography, 1-20.
- Zhang, F., Shi, X., & Zhou, Y. (2020). The Impact of Health Insurance on Healthcare Utilization by Migrant Workers in China. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(6), 1852.
- Bengoa, M., & Rick, C. (2019). Chinese Hukou Policy and Rural-to-Urban Migrants’ Health: Evidence from Matching Methods. Eastern Economic Journal, 1-36.
- Guan, M., & Han, B. (2019). Factor Structures of General Health Questionnaire-12 within the number of kins among the rural residents in China. Frontiers in Psychology, 10.
- Lin, C., & Rodgers, Y. V. D. M. (2019). Social disadvantage and children’s nutritional status in rural-urban migrant households. Journal of Contemporary China, 28(120), 899-915.
- Lin, C., & van der Meulen Rodgers, Y. (2019). Parental Migration Decisions and Child Health Outcomes: Evidence from China☆. In Health and Labor Markets. Emerald Publishing Limited.
- Giulietti, C., Wahba, J., & Zenou, Y. (2018). Strong versus weak ties in migration. European Economic Review, 104, 111-137.
- Guan, M. (2018). Epidemiology of Hypertensive State among Chinese Migrants: Effects of Unaffordable Medical Care. International journal of hypertension, 2018.
- Minale, L. (2018). Agricultural productivity shocks, labour reallocation and rural–urban migration in China. Journal of Economic Geography, 18(4), 795-821.
- Niu, G., & Zhao, G. (2018). Living condition among China’s rural–urban migrants: recent dynamics and the inland–coastal differential. Housing Studies, 33(3), 476-493.
- Su, Y., Tesfazion, P., & Zhao, Z. (2018). Where are the migrants from? Inter-vs. intra-provincial rural-urban migration in China. China Economic Review, 47, 142-155.
- Wu, Y., & Xiao, H. (2018). Social insurance participation among rural migrants in reform era China. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 27(4), 383-403.
- Xiao, W., & Zhao, G. (2018). Agricultural land and rural-urban migration in China: A new pattern. Land Use Policy, 74, 142-150.
- Xie, S., & Chen, J. (2018). Beyond homeownership: Housing conditions, housing support and rural migrant urban settlement intentions in China. Cities, 78, 76-86.
- Yao, Y., Chen, G. S., Salim, R., & Yu, X. (2018). Schooling returns for migrant workers in China: Estimations from the perspective of the institutional environment in a rural setting. China Economic Review, 51, 240-256.
- You, J., & Wang, S. (2018). Unemployment duration and job-match quality in urban China: The dynamic impact of 2008 Labor Contract Law. Economic Modelling, 71, 220-233.
- Chuang, Y. C., & Yan, E. (2017). Behind the Invisible Wall: What Determine Wage Differentials between Urban and Migrant Workers in China. International Journal of China Studies, 8(1), 61.
- Fang, Z. (2017). Panel quantile regressions and the subjective well-being in urban China: evidence from RUMiC data. Social Indicators Research, 132(1), 11-24.
- Guan, M. (2017). Measuring the effects of socioeconomic factors on mental health among migrants in urban China: a multiple indicators multiple causes model. International journal of mental health systems, 11(1), 10.
- Lee, W. S., & Zhao, Z. (2017). Height, weight and well-being for rural, urban and migrant workers in China. Social indicators research, 132(1), 117-136.
- Meng, X. (2017). The Labor Contract Law, macro conditions, self‐selection, and labor market outcomes for migrants in China. Asian Economic Policy Review, 12(1), 45-65.
- Meng, X., & Yamauchi, C. (2017). Children of migrants: The cumulative impact of parental migration on children’s education and health outcomes in China. Demography, 54(5), 1677-1714.
- Ning, G., & Qi, W. (2017). Can self-employment activity contribute to ascension to urban citizenship? Evidence from rural-to-urban migrant workers in China. China Economic Review, 45, 219-231.
- Pakrashi, D., & Frijters, P. (2017). Migration and discrimination in urban China: a decomposition approach. Review of Income and Wealth, 63(4), 821-840.
- Tani, M. (2017). Hukou changes and subjective well-being in China. Social Indicators Research, 132(1), 47-61.
- Xie, S. (2017). The migration, mental stress, and tobacco use of internal migrants in China: the moderating effect of the social context of the host society. Substance Use & Misuse, 52(13), 1733-1743.
- Xie, S., Wang, J., Chen, J., & Ritakallio, V. M. (2017). The effect of health on urban-settlement intention of rural-urban migrants in China. Health & place, 47, 1-11.
- Yang, Y., & Gallagher, M. (2017). Moving In and Moving Up? Labor Conditions and China's Changing Development Model. Public Administration and Development, 37(3), 160-175.
- Zhang, H. (2017). Opportunity or new poverty trap: Rural-urban education disparity and internal migration in China. China Economic Review, 44, 112-124.
- Akay, A., Bargain, O. B., Giulietti, C., Robalino, J. D., & Zimmermann, K. F. (2016). Remittances and relative concerns in rural China. China Economic Review, 37, 191-207.
- Akgüç, M., Liu, X., Tani, M., & Zimmermann, K. F. (2016). Risk attitudes and migration. China Economic Review, 37, 166-176.
- Connelly, R., & Maurer-Fazio, M. (2016). Left behind, at-risk, and vulnerable elders in rural China. China Economic Review, 37, 140-153.
- Démurger, S., & Wang, X. (2016). Remittances and expenditure patterns of the left behinds in rural China. China Economic Review, 37, 177-190.
- Fang, T., Gunderson, M., & Lin, C. (2016). The use and impact of job search procedures by migrant workers in China. China Economic Review, 37, 154-165.
- Fang, Z., & Sakellariou, C. (2016). Living Standards Inequality Between Migrants and Local Residents in Urban China—A Quantile Decomposition. Contemporary Economic Policy, 34(2), 369-386.
- Hare, D. (2016). What accounts for the decline in labor force participation among married women in urban China, 1991–2011?. China Economic Review, 38, 251-266.
- Meng, L., Zhao, M. Q., & Liwu, D. S. (2016). Joint migration decisions of married couples in rural China. China Economic Review, 38, 285-305.
- Tyner, A., & Ren, Y. (2016). The hukou system, rural institutions, and migrant integration in China. Journal of East Asian Studies, 16(3), 331-348.
- Xiang, A. O., Jiang, D., & Zhong, Z. H. A. O. (2016). The impact of rural–urban migration on the health of the left-behind parents. China Economic Review, 37, 126-139.
- Biavaschi, C., Giulietti, C., & Zimmermann, K. F. (2015). Sibling influence on the human capital of the left-behind. Journal of Human Capital, 9(4), 403-438.
- Curtis, C. C., Lugauer, S., & Mark, N. C. (2015). Demographic patterns and household saving in China. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 7(2), 58-94.
- Guochang, Z. H. A. O. (2015). Can money ‘buy’schooling achievement? Evidence from 19 Chinese cities. China Economic Review, 35, 83-104.
- Xiang, A. O., Jiang, D., & Zhong, Z. H. A. O. (2016). The impact of rural–urban migration on the health of the left-behind parents. China Economic Review, 37, 126-139.
- Zhang, D., Li, X., & Xue, J. (2015). Education inequality between rural and urban areas of the People's Republic of China, migrants’ children education, and some implications. Asian Development Review, 32(1), 196-224.
- Zhang, J., & Zhao, Z. (2015). Social-family network and self-employment: evidence from temporary rural–urban migrants in China. IZA Journal of Labor & Development, 4(1), 4.
- Akay, A., Giulietti, C., Robalino, J. D., & Zimmermann, K. F. (2014). Remittances and well-being among rural-to-urban migrants in China. Review of Economics of the Household, 12(3), 517-546.
- Akgüç, M., Giulietti, C., & Zimmermann, K. F. (2014). The RUMiC longitudinal survey: Fostering research on labor markets in China. IZA Journal of Labor & Development, 3(1), 5.
- Deng, Q., & Li, S. (2012). Low‐paid workers in urban China. International Labour Review, 151(3), 157-171.
- Lehmann, H. (2012). Wirtschaftlicher Wandel und unfreiwilliger Arbeitsplatzverlust in China und Russland: Inzidenz und Kosten. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 81(3), 99-123.
IZA Discussion Paper(s)
- Social Disadvantage and Children's Nutritional Status in Rural-Urban Migrant Households
- Sibling Spillover in Rural China: A Story of Sisters and Daughters
- Sons or Daughters? The Impact of Children's Migration on the Health and Well-Being of Parents Left Behind
- Parental Migration Decisions and Child Health Outcomes: Evidence from China
- Where Are Migrants from? Inter- vs. Intra-Provincial Rural-Urban Migration in China
- Risk Attitudes and Household Migration Decisions
- Social Networks and Mental Health Problems: Evidence from Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China
- China's Sex Ratio and Crime: Behavioral Change or Financial Necessity?
- Remittances and Expenditure Patterns of the Left Behinds in Rural China
- Hukou Changes and Subjective Well-Being
- The Use and Impact of Job Search Procedures by Migrant Workers in China
- Height, Weight and Well-Being for Rural, Urban and Migrant Workers in China
- The Impact of Rural-Urban Migration on the Health of the Left-behind Parents
- Risk Attitudes and Migration
- Understanding the Effects of Education on Health: Evidence from China
- Left Behind, At Risk, and Vulnerable Elders in Rural China: What the RUMIC Data Reveal about the Extent, Causes, and Consequences of Being Left Behind
- Children of Migrants: The Impact of Parental Migration on Their Children's Education and Health Outcomes
- Remittances and Relative Concerns in Rural China
- Who Is Coming to the Artefactual Field Experiment? Participation Bias among Chinese Rural Migrants
- Do Negative Native-Place Stereotypes Lead to Discriminatory Wage Penalties in China's Migrant Labor Markets?
- Expropriation with Hukou Change: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment
- Data for Studying Earnings, the Distribution of Household Income and Poverty in China
- Strong versus Weak Ties in Migration
- The IZA Evaluation Dataset Survey: A Scientific Use File
- The RUMiC Longitudinal Survey: Fostering Research on Labor Markets in China
- Sibling Influence on the Human Capital of the Left Behind
- Job Contact Networks and Wages of Rural-Urban Migrants in China
- Earnings Differentials and Returns to Education in China, 1995-2008
- The Costs of Worker Displacement in Urban Labor Markets of China
- Entrepreneurship of the Left-Behind
- Measuring the Income-Distance Tradeoff for Rural-Urban Migrants in China
- Remittances and Well-Being among Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China
- Migrant Entrepreneurs and Credit Constraints under Labour Market Discrimination
- Self-Employment of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China
- Relative Concerns of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China
- Social-Family Network and Self-Employment: Evidence from Temporary Rural-Urban Migrants in China
- Evolution of the Chinese Rural-Urban Migrant Labor Market from 2002 to 2007
Longitudinal survey dataSource:
Access to the data is provided to non-for-profit research, replication and teaching purposes. The data is available from the International Data Service Center (IDSC) of IZA.
Please contact IDSC for any access requests.
Districts, Country, Rural areas, Urban areas