The scope and speed of the internal migration of over 200 million people as a result of China’s rapid urbanization is unprecedented in human history. Since the late 1990s, family migrations have become more common than individual migrations, and migrants are more likely to settle permanently rather than temporarily relocate in cities. This research focuses on the challenges confronting rural migrant families residing in urban China and the strategies they adopt to meet them.
From July 2008 to December 2009, our research team followed 12 migrant families who lived on the outskirts of Beijing. This paper describes their migration paths, family arrangements, and the methods they employ to confront challenges. Adopting the family strengths perspective, the study identifies the strategies employed by the migrant population to manage family life, the reliance on family networks for support, and the lack of equal access to state-provided benefits and services. The author maintains that, in addition to providing necessary family services to the migrant population and developing strength-based interventions, fundamental reforms must be enacted to abolish the urban-rural hukou and ensure equal distribution of benefits and access to social services.