Labour Migration and Time Use Patterns of the Left-Behind Children and Elderly in Rural China
Rural-urban migration has become a major feature of the Chinese economy since the mid-1990s. Due to institutional arrangements and economic and cultural factors, massive labor migration has resulted in a large left-behind population consisting of children, non-elderly married women, and the elderly. This paper examines the impacts of labor migration on time use patterns of the left-behind elderly people and children in rural China, using data derived from the China’s health and Nutrition Health Survey (CHNS) for the period between 1997 and 2006. The results show that the migration of household members increases the time spent on farm work and domestic work for the left-behind elderly, and the migration of parents increases the time spent on farm work and domestic work for the left-behind children. Importantly, migration has striking gender differentiated impacts with the increase in work time being greater for elderly women and girls than elderly men and boys. These results have important policy implications.
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