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Do rural migrant parents intend to settle in cities? Impacts of childcare strategies, split households, migration duration, and distance

  • Guo, Chunlan1, 2
  • 1 Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, Hong Kong SAR , (China)
  • 2 Shenzhen Research Institute, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen , (China)
Published Article
Frontiers in Sustainable Cities
Frontiers Media S.A.
Publication Date
Mar 11, 2024
DOI: 10.3389/frsc.2024.1301650
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Original Research


Introduction The current transnational and internal migration involve more and more circular and temporary residences in the host communities. However, few studies have examined the settlement intention of circular and temporary migrant parents with children under 18 years old, which has made inclusive planning for these migrants' needs difficult. This paper aimed to examine whether rural migrant parents intended to settle in cities, with specific discussion about the impacts of childcare strategies, split households, and migration duration and distance. Methods This was a cross-sectional study design. The data was sourced from the China Migrants Dynamic Survey. Results Through analysis of a sample of 4,247 rural migrant parents in the Pearl River Delta, this study found that 56% of rural migrant parents intended to become urban settlers. Higher levels of education and income and longer migration durations yielded the parents' increased intention to become urban settlers. The birthplaces and primary caregivers of migrants' children were also significant factors. Moreover, split households, especially households in which the youngest child did not live with the parents in cities, decreased parents' intention to settle permanently. Instead of geographic distance, administrative provincial boundaries were found to be a critical factor in inter-provincial migrant parents' decreased intention to settle in cities. Discussion This study provides insights into understanding urbanization in China and contributes to future policy studies regarding internal migration, social integration and population growth, especially in a low fertility and rapid aging contest.

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