Health Status and Earnings of Migrant Workers from Rural China

Lijian Qin, Chien Ping Chen, Xun Liu, Chenggang Wang, Zhongyi Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The migration of rural laborers into cities for employment has been one of the main driving forces of China's economic growth over the past three decades. Based on a dataset collected by the Ministry of Agriculture of China from 2003 to 2007, this paper examines the impact of health on the earnings of migrant workers engaging in physically-intensive work requiring good health. Our findings indicate that a poor health status not only weakens the incentive of rural laborers to participate in the migrant labor force but also significantly reduces their earnings. A migrant worker in poor health only earns 67 percent of what a healthy worker makes. Among all the human capital characteristics and family economic factors, health status is the most influential on earnings for less educated workers. Labor productivity has a greater impact on earnings than the annual number of days that a person works. Ongoing health-care reforms aimed at the improvement of the health-care services available to rural laborers are urged to help reduce poverty in rural China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-99
Number of pages16
JournalChina and World Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Earnings
  • Health
  • Labor market
  • Migrant workers


Dive into the research topics of 'Health Status and Earnings of Migrant Workers from Rural China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this