Rich dad, poor dad: the impact of family background on educated young people’s migration from peripheral China

Huimin DU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Along with its rapid economic growth, economic inequality rises and intergenerational mobility declines in China. Meanwhile, significant growth in HEIs’ enrolment has contributed to major migration flows across the country. This research investigates the impact of family background on the migration location choice of educated young people from peripheral China, based on data from a life-course survey of recent graduates of tertiary education institutions originating from Chaohu, China. Logistic models are employed to analyse young people’s migration to receive higher education, whether inside or outside the home province, and the location trajectories afterwards. While the findings confirm the association between university and post-university location choice, substantial interaction effects are found between location choice and family background. Young people from different family backgrounds adopt different strategies of geographical mobility in their transition to adulthood. In particular, young people from privileged families are more likely to leave the home province for higher education and return after graduation, whereas those from underprivileged families are more likely to study within the home province and then move away.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-110
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The author would like to thank Shenjing He, Russell King, Si-ming Li, Jianfa Shen, and three anonymous reviewers for their contributions to the improvement of this paper. Special thanks to Fenglong Wang for his help in data manipulation and preparing Figure 1.


  • family background
  • geographical mobility
  • graduate migration
  • location choice
  • Student migration


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