Multilevel Analysis of Factors Associated with Left Behind Children in China

  •  Yasuo Miyazaki    
  •  Chenguang Du    
  •  Joanna Papadopoulos    
  •  Hongfei Du    


With the rapid development of urbanization in China, a growing number of rural workers migrate to urban cities for employment opportunities with leaving their children at home. These children are called left behind children (LBC) in China and their population has dramatically increased during the last 20 years. So far, many studies have examined what factors were associated with this increasing LBC populations. However, they were rarely guided by a holistic perspective. The current study investigated 1,691 left behind children in 166 communities using data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) in 2011. Based on the human ecology theory, this study explored family and contextual (community) characteristics associated with the left behind children (LBC) in China. The main results for this subpopulation of families with children revealed stark contrasts with the literature for the general population of migrants. That is, for the families with children, (1) contrary to the literature, father’s education was negatively associated with the probability of LBC at the individual level, even after the income was controlled; (2) community average father’s education was also negatively associated with LBC; but (3) community average household income was not associated with LBC once the average father’s education was controlled. The policy implications of these results are briefly discussed.

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