Left-Behind Elderly: Shouldering a Disproportionate Share of Production and Reproduction in Supporting China's Industrial Development
Jingzhong Ye, Congzhi He, Juan Liu, Weijing Wang, Shidong Chen
(Corresponding author: Jingzhong Ye, email: firstname.lastname@example.org )
The Journal of Peasant Studies,18 Aug 2016 (published online)
Abstract: Since the 1980s, China has undergone rapid industrialization, urbanization and marketization to accelerate economic growth and integration into the global market. Reform in rural areas dismantled the collective economy, endorsed a Household Responsibility System and restored family farming. Rural economic reform and the relaxation of the household registration system (hukou) have allowed the youngest and most dynamic laborers in rural areas to migrate into cities. They work in cities with the primary objective of earning cash income to support their families in the increasingly commoditized countryside, as well as to experience modern life in China’s increasingly globalized cities. The large-scale movement of laborers from rural to urban areas started in the 1990s, and continues to this day (Pan, Lu, and Zhang 2012; He and Ye 2014). The employment of peasant workers in China continues to expand and reached 274 million in 2014, with 168 million migrant peasant workers and 106 in situ peasant workers (National Bureau of Statistics, 2015).According to estimates from the National Population and Family Planning Commission in 2009, there will be 500 million inhabitants in cities, 500 million in the countryside and 500 million floating between rural and urban areas in 30 years’ time (Lv 2009).