How Exposure to Urban Life Shapes Health Outcomes: A Longitudinal Analysis of Older Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China

Weilong Li , University of Pennsylvania

Rural-to-urban migration not simply represents changes in residential locations but also movements from agricultural settings to industrial societies. After long-term assimilation, rural-to-urban migrants may abandon their original living habits and adopt unhealthy urban lifestyles. In fact, extensive literature has documented the association between urban lifestyles and decreasing health outcomes among rural-to-urban migrants in India, Guatemala, Iran, and even Kenya. However, in the context of China, not many studies on this topic have been done. Previous studies either only document rural and urban health disparities and ignore the process of internal migration or fail to consider whether the association between rural-to-urban migration and health outcomes varies with length of time living in cities. Using three waves of data from China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), this paper aims to analyzing the how different extents of exposure to urban life shapes health outcomes, including blood pressure, BMI, and waist circumference.

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 Presented in Session 54. Internal Migration, Health, and Well-being