Leah C. Pinckney '17, Gettysburg College
Student Research Paper
Date of Creation
Human migration is a complex, ancient process driven by a variety of social, political, and economic factors. Modern migrants and their families are often compelled to migrate voluntarily in pursuit of new opportunities for study or work and, in extreme circumstances, involuntarily for safety and survival. Chinese domestic migrant populations were mobilized with China’s early 1980s economic reform, which enabled rapid economic development largely dependent on urban factories. While this massive influx of young people predominantly from rural locales to urban locales seeking opportunity enabled China’s rise as a world power, their move not only marked changing internal labor patterns but also shifts in population health.
Chinese domestic migrants are often required to send money and other resources home, maintaining limited and not returning home for extended periods of time. Temporary displacement and associated stressors, such as sociocultural differences, levels of discrimination, family-related stress, and work-related stress, negatively impact various aspects of health. For instance, mental health is adversely affected, most often manifesting as major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. These changes not only impair migrants’ overall health and quality of life but also influence larger social phenomena that undermine societal stability. These reviewed findings reflect a need for more research about this population and greater systemic changes to improve life for all Chinese citizens.
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Pinckney, Leah C., "Human Migration and Health: A Case Study of the Chinese Rural-to-Urban Migrant Population" (2017). Student Publications. 525.