Job or no job, migrants keep coming

By Chen Xiaoru Source:Global Times Published: 2013-4-7 22:18:01

A Fudan University study has found that Shanghai's migrant population rose to 9.6 million in 2012, with more unemployed migrants choosing to stay in the city.

The rising migrant population has put pressure on public resources, said Ren Yuan, an expert on public policy from Fudan University who helped conduct the study.

"There are deficits in local government spending because the government has been expanding public services for the migrant population in recent years," Ren told the Global Times. "The education sector needs more private investment to solve the problem."

According to China's last census, 8.9 million migrants had been living in Shanghai for more than six months at the end of 2010. 

"There was a clear increase in the migrant population in the two years after the global financial crisis," Ren said. "However, not much of the migrant population left the city during that period."

Local government statistics show that the number of migrants who lived in the city for more than half a year accounted for 38.7 percent of the total population in 2010. The figure rose to 40.3 percent in 2012.

One of the major changes in the migrant population has been that more are staying in the city even if they don't have a job. "Unlike in the 1990s, when almost every migrant worker had a job because they came to the city to work, more migrants are now living in Shanghai without a job," Ren said. "They have gotten used to city life and refuse to go back to the countryside."

The unemployment rate for Shanghai's migrant population stands somewhere between 6 percent and 7 percent, Ren said.

Unlike residents with Shanghai household registration, migrants do not receive an allowance from the local government. However, they do put a strain on other city services. "The unemployed migrant population has caused problems for public security, and the local authorities should strengthen management over this group," Ren said.

Most of Shanghai's migrant population come from Anhui Province, which shares a border with the city in the west. Anhui residents account for 30 percent of the city's migrant population, followed by residents from Jiangxi and Henan provinces.

Ren said that the majority of Shanghai's migrant population still works in manufacturing, but many have shifted to the service sector in recent years.

Posted in: Society, Metro Shanghai

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