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Back | Programme Area: Research-Related Activities

Migration and Health in China

Date: 6 May 2014

  • Time: 12:30 - 14:00
  • Location: D-19, Palais de Nations
  • Counterpart(s): International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • Project Title: UNRISD Seminar Series

People are on the move in their millions in China in search of better jobs and better lives, mostly migrating to cities from the countryside. In 2009, there were approximately 230 million migrants in China, with 145.3 million rural inhabitants moving temporarily to cities, trying to improve their livelihoods.

This movement has huge implications for the health of the Chinese population, the patterns and transmission of disease, China’s health care system and related social welfare policies. These issues have been largely neglected by researchers and consequently have not been adequately addressed by public policy—a major research and policy gap.

The UNRISD/IOM Panel Discussion on Migration and Health in China brings together researchers from the UNRISD project of the same name to reflect on their findings and what they imply for public policy in China and other developing nations with high population mobility. Questions to be addressed include:

• What evidence is there of the impact of migration on health in China?

• What are the knowledge gaps on migration and health in China?

• What are the key policy challenges faced by China in promoting migrant health?

• What lessons can be learned by other countries also addressing health challenges posed by massive internal movement of the population?


Introductory Remarks

Sarah Cook, Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development


Shufang Zhang, Specialist, The Global Fund
Presenting the paper Migration and Health in China: an Overview

Joseph D. Tucker, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Director of UNC Project-China
Presenting the paper The Influence of Migration on the Burden of and Response to Infectious Disease Threats in China: A Theoretically Informed Review

Xiaoming Li, Professor, Wayne State University School of Medicine
Presenting the papers Physical and Mental Health among Left-behind Children and Adolescents in Rural China and
Rural-to-urban Migration and Mental Health among Adult Migrants in the Urban Destinations

Barbara Rijks, Migration Health Programme Coordinator, International Organization for Migration
Presenting the paper International Migration and Health: Emerging challenges for China

Moderated by Sarah Cook.

Closing remarks by Barbara Rijks.


This event is public and free of charge. However, registration is required for non-UN badge holders to access the UN buildings (note there can be long queues at security). Click here to access the event page and register.

The final access to this event is subject to the capacity of the room. We advise arriving early to ensure a seat.

Click here to register

Remote access

We will be
tweeting key messages live from the seminar and welcome your comments and questions, which, time permitting, we may be able to put directly to the speaker. Follow us on @UNRISD and #UNRISDseminar.

This event will be video and audio recorded. If you would like to be notified when the video and the podcast are online, please send an email with “Audio/video notification” in the subject line to

Photo by Jun Wei Fan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)