TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 58-68.

Urban Settlement Intention and Its Influencing Mechanism of Floating Population with Low Education Levels from Household Perspective: A Case Study of Eight Cities in China

Chen Hongsheng1, Wang Xingping1, Liu Ye2 and Li Zhigang3

1. (1. School of Architecture, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China; 2. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China; 3. School of Urban Design, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China)
• Received:2018-09-12 Revised:2018-10-17 Online:2019-01-05 Published:2019-01-05

Abstract:

In the 40 years since the reform and opening up, the urbanization rate of China’s population has increased substantially, and the pattern of population mobility has also changed from individual mobility to family migration. However, most of the existing studies are based on individual dimensions to analyze the settlement willingness of China’s floating population, and less from the family dimension. In the context of the pursuit of highly educated and highly skilled personnel in China’s big cities, the family development of low-education migrants is easily overlooked. This paper uses sample survey data of eight representative cities to study the willingness of migrant families and their influencing factors based on family perspective. By constructing the Family Settlement Index (FSI) from long-term residential plan, social security, social identification, family migration, and household registration (hukou), this study found that migrant families in Wuhan, Wuxi, Suzhou, and Xi'an have higher willingness to settle in cities. Shanghai is at an intermediate level, while the floating population of Quanzhou, Changsha and Xianyang has a lower willingness to settle. Using regression analysis, it is found that the households’ willingness to settle in the third-tier cities is significantly lower than that of the first-tier cities; the higher the per capita GDP and the proportion of tertiary industry in GDP, the higher the willingness of migrant families to settle. Among the urban social factors, if the city is convenient for migrants to take care of family members and children to obtain better education, the higher the willingness of migrant families to settle in cities. Consistent with existing research, the longer the residence time and the shorter the flow distance, the higher the willingness of the floating population to settle in the city. Among the rural factors, the amount of money returned to the hometown and the household expenses of the home have a negative effect on the willingness of the floating population to settle in the city. In short, there are some differences in the factors affecting the settlement willingness of migrants in different cities, but the influence of family factors is consistent, showing that the city is more conducive to the care and development of its family members, and the stronger the willingness of migrant families to settle in the city. Compared with the existing research that measures the willingness to settle by a single variable, this study comprehensively constructs the family settlement index of the floating population from the family perspective, and more accurately assesses the willingness of the floating population to settle in the city. In terms of analytical methods, this study used a multilevel regression analysis method to analyze the correlation between “city-family settlement” and explore the inter-city differences in the impact mechanism of floating population family settlement willingness. This study empirically explains the impact of China’s urbanization process on the urbanization of vulnerable migrant families, and is of great significance for understanding the social effects of China’s urbanization process. Finally, at the policy level, this paper proposes to create a “family-friendly” new urban-rural development order to achieve the settlement and development of migrant families, which is an important part of improving the quality of population urbanization.