Rural Migrants in Shanghai: Living Under the Shadow of Socialism1


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    We would like to thank the Ford Foundation (via its Beijing Office) for its partial support for the 1995 Shanghai Floating Population Survey. We are especially grateful to Kenneth Roberts and Dorothy Solinger for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. We have also benefited from the suggestions by the reviewers of IMR, to whom we express our gratitude here.

Please direct all correspondence to Wang Feng, Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697. Email address:


This article examines the fate of rural migrants in Shanghai, China's largest metropolis. Relying on data from a representative survey, it provides a profile of recent rural migrants and analyzes the pattern of occupational and income determination among them. The economic status between migrants and local residents is also compared. The authors show that despite a marked income improvement, rural migrants in Shanghai are still segregated from urban residents and argue that the social divide between urban and rural areas created under socialism has continued to function and may contribute to the formation of a dual society in urban China.