Research on the social mobility of rural migrants in China has focused on the effect of urban jobs. Rural landholdings are considered almost irrelevant, given the minimal revenue generated from agriculture and the ban on rural land transactions. Yet recent decades have seen policy reforms and new development initiatives that have allowed for more profitable land uses and requisition terms, which unlock the potential of rural land. The retention of rural land may affect the lives of rural citizens, including those who have migrated to the city. This paper explores the potential effects of landholdings on the social mobility of rural migrants in Jiangsu with respect to occupation, housing, and income. The possession of rural landholdings is found to be associated with the mobility choices and life outcomes of rural migrants. Rural land, which has not been seen as a main driver of social mobility, may be sorting rural citizens into different localities and social classes.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Urban Studies
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
- Rural migrants
- Social mobility