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Qual Health Res. 2013 Nov;23(11):1459-69. doi: 10.1177/1049732313507500. Epub 2013 Oct 11.

Understanding health constraints among rural-to-urban migrants in China.

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1Shandong University, Jinan, China.


The main purpose of this article is to examine the understanding and experience of health and health care among rural-to-urban migrants in China, and to explain the impact of the internal factors of migrants themselves and the external factors of their social environment. Understanding the perceptions and consciousness of health issues among migrants is crucial to prevention, intervention, and other health-related measures for the migrant population in China, but this has rarely been explored in studies. On the basis of a case study of a migrant community in Beijing, I explore the migrants' understandings of health and health care and analyze factors in the social environment, including exclusion from the social system and the possibility of health participation, exclusion from social relation networks, obstructed channels of health maintenance, and exclusion of crowd psychology, which impact heavily on their health understanding and health behavior. I argue that the internal and the external factors are linked together closely and interact as reciprocal causation. However, the migrants should not be seen as primarily responsible, because their poor understanding of health mainly results from the socioeconomic environment in which they live and work.


China, Chinese culture; health care, access to; health care, users’ experiences; marginalized populations

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