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Moving to Shanghai: The massive internal migration to the first Chinese megacity (1927-1937)

Lei Shi ()
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Lei Shi: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

No 1510, Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) from Asociación Española de Historia Económica

Abstract: As a result of the massive rural-urban migration, Shanghai transformed from a small costal city into the largest metropolis in China. During Nanjing Government Era (1927-1937), more than one million immigrants flocked into Shanghai and formed almost 80% of its population. Relying on the official statistics published by Nanjing Government and the historical archives and surveys, this article is one of the first attempts to quantify the population of Shanghai and the internal migration during the Republican China, and to analyze the characteristics of the immigrants to Shanghai. The study shows that the majority of the immigrants were young males from nearby rural areas. There was a high geographical concentration of the immigrants and existed the segmentation in the labour market and social status. The Great Depression had a late influence to China’s economy, and after 1932 large number of rural workers lost jobs, and the rate of immigration to Shanghai reduced. The industrial development and employment opportunities brought by migrants are the most important reason to attract people to Shanghai.

Keywords: rural-urban migration; industrialization; China; Great Depression. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J61 N45 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-mig
Date: 2015-07
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