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Social Insurance of Rural Migrants in the People’s Republic of China


  • Heping Cai und Yingfang Hua


Since the beginning of economic reforms in China, the number of rural migrants flocking to the cities to find work has been constantly increasing. In 2006 these migrants accounted for almost 50 percent of all urban employees. Typical to this type of worker is a high degree of flexibility and mobility, which makes it rather difficult to establish a social insurance system that guarantees their rights. After the adoption of the labour law in 1994, the Chinese government formulated guidelines to either integrate rural migrants into existing urban systems or establish a separate system for them. The reality, however, is somewhat different. Only a very small percentage of migrants – between 10 percent and 20 percent depending on the type of insurance – are covered. Most problematic is old-age insurance. This article lists the different regulations regarding social insurance law and elaborates on the various problems in its implementation. The two models of Shanghai and Shenzhen are given as an example. The next step towards a nationwide, inclusive insurance system would be standardization on the provincial level.

Suggested Citation

  • Heping Cai und Yingfang Hua, 2008. "Social Insurance of Rural Migrants in the People’s Republic of China," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 37(1), pages 181-203.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:chaktu:v:37:y:2008:i:1:p:181-203

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