Rural‐to‐Urban Migration, Family Resilience, and Policy Framework for Social Support in China

Wen, Y.; Hanley, J. (2015)

Asian Social Work and Policy Review

9(1) | 18-28

China’s internal rural‐to‐urban migration has impacted the country in economic, social, and cultural terms. Despite the increasing number of families involved in migration, little is known about how migrant families as a unit adapt to new environments from rural to urban settings. Policy making needs to be informed to address migrant families’ needs. This article investigates how Chinese families experience transitions resulting from migration, exploring their use of formal and informal support to achieve adaptation and the process of making evolving choices for their children. We begin with a brief introduction to the literature on family resilience and its relation to Chinese migrant families. Then we provided an analysis of Chinese social policies most central to the experiences of rural‐to‐urban migrant families. After a brief description of methodology, we present our findings starting with a migrant family story to provide an anchor for the following discussion on how current policies can impede or facilitate migrant families’ resilience. Our conclusion is that lack of social support leaves migrant Chinese families vulnerable when coping with enormous social, cultural, and economic transformations. Family constitutes the basis of Chinese society; therefore, a policy framework on social support is important to support these families and foster family resilience.