The poverty of China’s rural-to-urban migrants: A case study of Shanghai

Event details

PSC Seminar Series

Date & time

Tuesday 06 September 2022


PSC Reading Room 4.27 & Zoom


Gao Chunyuan


Maxine McArthur

This seminar discusses the research questions, theoretical framework, methodology, and findings of Gao Chunyuan’s PhD project.

This project sets out to resolve a paradox: Why do China’s rural-to-urban migrants live in poverty despite having relatively high incomes? To resolve this puzzle, Chunyuan develops a new framework of multidimensional poverty to advance a holistic and sophisticated theoretical understanding of poverty.

Employing this framework, and using quantitative analysis, Chunyuan finds that the majority of China’s rural-to-urban migrants suffer from multidimensional poverty. Through a qualitative study, he finds, furthermore, that the higher income rural migrants have, the more severe the multidimensional poverty in which they live in the city. He argues that rural marriage and its related norms and costs carry a life-cycle poverty trap for rural-to-urban migrants. Underpinning the poverty trap, Chinese rural cultural institutions have complex effects regarding cross-generational rural family prosperity and poverty.

Gao Chunyuan is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political and Social Change. He received sociology training at Hong Kong Baptist University. He has formerly worked as a contributor to research projects led by the World Bank in China. His research is focused on a number of themes, including rural-to-urban migration in China, poverty, social welfare and social theory.

Zoom link -

Meeting ID: 878 2062 7268       Password: 033854 

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