In effect for almost 40 years (1979-2015), China’s “One-Child Policy” comprised the world’s most far reaching and stringent attempt at population control. Now, in the face of serious demographic challenges – including an aging population, a stubbornly low fertility rate, and a heavily skewed sex ratio – China’s government has relaxed the policy to two children and is tentatively moving to end all birth restrictions. Yet the true social and economic consequences of China’s population policies remain unclear. There are also increasing concerns about a shrinking workforce, difficulty caring for an elderly population, a surplus of unmarried men, the wellbeing of only children, and the tragic legacy of as many as 30 million “missing girls” through sex-selective abortion, neglect, and abandonment. These demographic issues will be among the most important long-term challenges for China.
Stanford scholars are setting and expanding research agendas to analyze China’s economic development and its impact on the world. The newly launched Stanford Center on China’s Economy and Institutions — co-directed by SIEPR senior fellows Hongbin Li and Scott Rozelle — is supporting their work. In this SIEPR Policy Brief, Li and Rozelle outline the research underway by the new center's affiliates.
This research uses a mixed-methods analysis to examine how being left behind impacts the cognition/education, nutrition, and mental health outcomes of children in rural China. We find that parental migration increases household income and decreases care, and these impacts vary based on location, socioeconomic status, and age. We also find that families generally recognize these impacts. Our findings offer a more general view of the effects of being left behind on childhood outcomes than previous research, which often used small sample sizes from limited geographic areas or age ranges. Although our research focuses on China, the findings are relevant to other developing nations where working-age individuals often migrate domestically or internationally in search of work, such as Mexico and the Philippines.
Rural residents in China today face at least two key decisions: a) where to live and work; and b) where to send their children to school. In this paper we study the second decision: should a rural parent send their child to a public rural school or have him or her attend a private migrant school in the city. While there is an existing literature on the impact of this decision on student academic performance, one of the main shortcomings of current studies is that the data that are used to analyse this issue are not fully comparable.
China’s rapid development and urbanization over the past 30 years have caused large numbers of rural residents to migrate to urban areas in search of work. This has created a generation of children who remain behind in rural areas when their parents migrate for work. Previous research has found mixed impacts of parental migration on the educational achievement of left-behind children (LBC), perhaps because of methodological deficiencies and lack of recognition of the heterogeneity of this population of children.
Nearly a quarter of all children under the age of two in China are left behind in the countryside as parents migrate to urban areas for work. We use a longitudinal survey following young children and their caregivers from 6 to 30 months of age to estimate the effects of maternal migration on development, health, and nutritional outcomes in the critical first stages of life.We find significant negative effects on cognitive development and indicators of dietary quality.
Purpose: The need for a universal rural pension system has been heightened by demographic changes in rural China, including the rapid aging of the nation’s rural population and a dramatic decline in fertility. In response to these changes, China’s Government introduced the New Rural Social Pension Program (NRSPP) in 2009, a voluntary and highly subsidized pension scheme. The purpose of this paper is to assess the participation of rural farmers in the NRSPP. Furthermore, the authors examine whether the NRSPP affects the labor supply of the elderly population in China.
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effect of adult children migration on the health status of elderlyparents. Increased labor migration in developing countries that lack adequate social security systems and institutionalized care for the elderly is a phenomenon that is important to understand. When their adultchildren go away to work, it is not clear what effect there will be on “left-behind” elderly parents.
China’s rapid development and urbanization has induced large numbers of rural residents to migrate from their homes in the countryside to urban areas in search of higher wages. It is estimated that there are more than 60 million left behind children (LBCs) remain in the countryside after their parents migrate. This paper examines the changes in mental health before and after the parents of fourth and fifth grade students out- or return-migrate. We draw on a panel dataset collected by the authors of more than 19,000 students from 252 rural primary schools in northwestern China. Using difference-in-difference and propensity score matching approaches, our results indicate that parental out-migration has a significant negative impact on the mental health of LBCs, as they tend to exhibit higher levels of anxiety and lower levels of self-esteem. However, we find that parental return-migration has no significant effect on the mental health of LBCs.
Using three-wave survey data for four villages of Jiangsu Province in China, the present paper examines whether and to what extent off-farm employment affects the technical efficiency of agricultural production. The level of technical efficiency is measured using a stochastic frontier production function approach. Based on estimation results from instrumental variable panel quantile regressions we find that there is a positive significant effect of off-farm employment on the level of farm technical efficiency. We also find that fragmentation of farmland is a barrier to the improvement of technical efficiency. In addition, we find a downward trend in the level of agricultural technical efficiency among our sample. Therefore, the Chinese Government should stimulate agricultural mechanization and the development of farming techniques to improve technical efficiency in the context of increasing off-farm employment.
Background: Empty-nest elderly refers to those elderly with no children or whose children have already left home. Few studies have focused on healthcare service use among empty-nest seniors, and no studies have identified the prevalence and profiles of non-use of healthcare services among empty-nest elderly. The purpose of this study is to compare the prevalence of non-use of healthcare services between empty-nest and non-empty-nest elderly and identify risk factors for the non-use of healthcare services among empty-nest seniors.
Methods: Four thousand four hundred sixty nine seniors (60 years and above) were draw from a cross-sectional study conducted in three urban districts and three rural counties of Shandong Province in China. Non-visiting within the past 2 weeks and non-hospitalization in previous year are used to measure non-use of healthcare services. Chi-square test is used to compare the prevalence of non-use between empty-nesters and non-empty-nesters. Multivariate logistic regression analysis is employed to identify the risk factors of non-use among empty-nest seniors.
Results: Of 4469 respondents, 2667(59.7 %) are empty-nesters. Overall, 35.5 % of the participants had non-visiting and 34.5 % had non-hospitalization. Non-visiting rate among empty-nest elderly (37.7 %) is significantly higher than that among non-empty-nest ones (32.7 %) (P = 0.008). Non-hospitalization rate among empty-nesters (36.1 %) is slightly higher than that among non-empty-nesters (31.6 %) (P = 0.166). Financial difficulty is the leading cause for both non-visiting and non-hospitalization of the participants, and it exerts a larger negative effect on access to healthcare for empty-nest elderly than non-empty-nest ones. Both non-visiting and non-hospitalization among empty-nest seniors are independently associated with low-income households, health insurance status and non-communicable chronic diseases. The nonvisiting rate is also found to be higher among the empty-nesters with lower education and those from rural areas.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that empty-nest seniors have higher non-use rate of healthcare services than non-empty-nest ones. Financial difficulty is the leading cause of non-use of health services. Healthcare policies should be developed or modified to make them more pro-poor and also pro-empty-nested.
The education of poor and disadvantaged populations, particularly those from minority subgroups, has been a long-standing challenge to education systems in both developed and developing countries (e.g., World Bank 2001, 2004; Glewwe and Kremer 2006; Planty et al. 2008). For example, over the past decade in the United States the high school dropout rate of Hispanic students has remained at least twice as high as that of white students (Aud et al.
Currently available data on myopia and spectacle wear are drawn largely from China’s richer and middle-income areas, and little is known about refractive error and spectacle wear in the lowest income provinces. Studies from China and elsewhere suggest that large differences in myopia prevalence may exist between areas of different socioeconomic status within countries, but reasons for these differences are not well understood.