PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (7): 990-999.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2014.07.014

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Return intention of migrant workers in a traditional agricultural area and planning response: based on a questionnaire survey in Zhoukou, Henan Province

Liwei WANG1(), Changchun FENG1(), Shuncai XU2   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environment Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. China Academy of Urban Planning & Design, Beijing 100044, China
  • Online:2014-07-25 Published:2014-07-25


Due to the rising manufacturing costs of China's eastern coastal areas after the global financial crisis, there is a clear trend of industrial relocation and population shift to the central and western regions of the country. Migrant workers who are yet fully integrated into the urban system in eastern China become the main returning population. Since these returning migrant workers tend to be skilled and possess certain capitals, their return has important social and economic implications for the urbanization and industrialization of the destination areas. Therefore, the study of migrant workers' return intention, destination and employment choices, income expectation, as well as the development of appropriate planning initiatives has important theoretical significance and practical values. Zhoukou in Henan Province is a traditional agricultural area and an important population exporting region in recent years. According to incomplete statistics, more than a million migrant workers work outside for multiple years. Due to the accelerated industrial transfer in Zhoukou, return of these migrant workers is becoming increasingly obvious. Therefore, we choose Zhoukou as a case study area to explore the return intention of migrant workers in traditional agricultural area and planning response of the local governments. In this research, we collected data using questionnaire survey combined with in-depth interviews. We conducted field research in June 2012 in 17 villages using stratified sampling and systematic sampling method. Each village provided a list of 20 migrant workers and their telephone numbers. We randomly selected 305 migrant workers among these and conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with the survey participants, which generated155 valid questionnaires. The questions asked cover the demographic characteristics of the participants, such as gender, age, education level, job type, income, marital status, monthly income. Also, workplace, return intention, reasons for return, destination and employment choices, and income expectation upon returning were surveyed. Based on the result of the survey, the paper analyzes the spatial pattern of flow of migrant workers and their return intention, and emphatically investigates reasons and incentives for return and destination and employment choices. Several conclusions are drawn as follows: (1) return intention of migrant workers is strong and many have planned to return in the near future; (2) the incentives for return are diversified, and the county seats are the most important choice of destination for work and living following home village; (3) job opportunities and high quality of education and health care are the most important factors that attract migrant workers. Finally, the paper proposes four planning responses of the government and institutions: decentralization and strengthening the power of the counties, promoting healthy interactions of the "double shifts", balancing the location of public service facilities, and speeding up the reform of land transfer and eliminating restrictions of the population registration system.

Key words: traditional agricultural area, migrant workers, return intention, planning response, Zhoukou City

CLC Number: 

  • K901.3