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From the ‘feminization of agriculture’ to the ‘ageing of farming populations’: Demographic transition and farming in a central Chinese village


  • Yuqin Huang



Great changes in terms of land and labour systems in rural China have been brought about by the economic reform in the late 1970s. The implementation of family planning policy and the tidal waves of rural-to-urban labour migration also caused demographic transitions. How have these changes affected the farming arrangements in rural China? Many suggest there has been a ‘feminization of agriculture’, while others insist it is not occurring. Based on quantitative information and ethnographic research in a central Chinese village, this article aims to reconcile the discrepancies between the discussions. It suggests that both sides might be correct in different contexts, taking into account the demographic transition among different cohorts of farming populations, regional differences in industrialization and levels of rural-to-urban labour migration. It proposes there has been a transition from the ‘feminization of agriculture’ to the ‘ageing of farming populations’ in the late 1990s, which implies a danger to farming in rural China when we ask: Who will be farming in 10 years’ time?

Suggested Citation

  • Yuqin Huang, 2012. "From the ‘feminization of agriculture’ to the ‘ageing of farming populations’: Demographic transition and farming in a central Chinese village," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 27(1), pages 19-32, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:loceco:v:27:y:2012:i:1:p:19-32

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