Cross-cultural migration and health: evidence from CLDS data

WANG Ting1 LI Jianmin1

(1.School of Economics, Nankai University, Tianjin, China 300071)

【Abstract】The migration experience is closely related to migrants’ health status, which is related to geographical distance and cultural distance. Cross-cultural migration generally affects migrants’ health through psychological pressure, lifestyle, income and social network. When choosing dialectal, dietetic and conceptual distance as proxy variables of cultural distance, using the data from CLDS, the paper analyzes the cross-cultural migration’s effect to rural migrants’ health as well as the reasons causing this effect. Descriptive statistics show that rural migrants are selective to cultural distance. Most of rural migrants move to the same dialect area and food circle, and the conceptual distance is also close. The Probit model results show that dialectal and conceptual distance has a significantly negative impact on the self-assessed health of rural migrants, and moreover, income level and social network play a role of mediation effect. The influence of dietetic distance is not significant. When applying PSM and IV Probit model to solve endogenous problems, the results reveal that conclusions of this paper are robust. Using two objective indicators for the robustness test, the basic conclusion is still valid. There are heterogeneities caused by the duration of migrants staying in their destination, gender, the number of migrations and local dialect skill when analyzing cultural distance’s effect on rural migrants’ self-assessed health (SAH).

【Keywords】 rural migrants; cross-cultural migration; health;


【Funds】 Youth Project of the National Social Science Fund of China (16CJY013)

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    [1]. ① The cultural distance index is obtained according to the data of the World Values Survey (WVS), which include the inquiries on the residents of 74 countries and regions around the world concerning their views and attitudes regarding the family, work, life, politics, society, religion and national identity. The index is obtained via calculating the average score of residents of each country/region on the aforementioned questions. The specific method of calculation will be described below. [^Back]

    [2]. ① Migrants refer to the population whose permanent residence is different from the registered residence and who leaves the registered residence for more than half a year. On account of the purpose of this study, this paper excludes the samples of urban-rural migrants, urban-urban migrants, rural residents, and return residents with migrant experiences. [^Back]

    [3]. ① In the CGSS questionnaire, there is the situation that a question is put forward for various attitudes of the respondent. For instance, the question D24 is as follows: do you agree with the following statements, which is treated as multiple questions in this paper. [^Back]

    [4]. ② The equation proposed by Kakwani for measuring the income deprivation of the individual yi is as follows: , where, Y is a group and the sample size is n. Arranged in ascending order of income, y1y2 ≤ . . . ≤ yn, of which the income vector is y = (y1, y2, . . . , yn), with μY as the mean of group Y. [^Back]

    [5]. ① The concept of dialect region is broadened here by involving North China official dialect, Northwest official dialect, Northeast official dialect, Southwest official dialect, and Jianghuai official dialect into the official dialect area. The CLDS data do not include the samples of Korean language region. Therefore, there are 13 dialect regions in the section of variable definition but 10 dialect areas here. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 22-1017/C

Vol 41, No. 01, Pages 45-57

January 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review
  • 3 Theoretical framework and research hypotheses
  • 4 Data and variables
  • 5 Empirical analysis of the impact of cultural distance on the health status of migrants
  • 6 Conclusion
  • Footnote