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Inching Up and Socio-economic Differentiation: Exploring Self-rated Health of China’s Rural-to-Urban Migrants from 2005 to 2015

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Objective

Large-scale rural-to-urban migration in China has stimulated heated discussion about rural migrants’ poor health status. This article reports the first study in China that compares the aggregate-level change in self-rated health of rural migrants between 2005 and 2015, and explores whether the difference, if any, can be explained by their different public health insurance enrollment status due to China’s health reforms in the late 2000s. It also explores whether the aggregate-level change in migrants’ self-rated health differs across different education levels.

Methods

Logistic regression models using pooled repeated cross-sectional data of the 2005 and 2015 China General Social Survey from 2688 rural-to-urban migrants.

Results

Rural migrants’ self-rated health has significantly improved from 2005 to 2015. This can be by explained by their different health insurance enrollment status. However, such improvement is particularly pronounced for migrants with higher education levels.

Conclusion

Whereas China’s recent health reforms have been overall effective in improving rural migrants’ health, these policies might lead to health inequalities within rural migrants in favor of those with higher education levels.
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Keywords: China; education level; health reform; rural-to-urban migrants; self-rated health

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Publication date: 01 September 2018

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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