Subjective Social Mobility among Migrant Children in China

Wei Lu, Nian Liu, Juan Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Little scholarly attention has been paid to the relationship between children’s subjective social mobility and their “social ecology”. Children’s subjective social mobility is about how they perceive their future social position compared to their parents’. Social ecology refers to the influential multi-layered surrounding factors, including family, school, and community. We analyzed data from structured questionnaires completed by 2221 migrant children (1296 boys and 925 girls, with a mean age of 11.7 years) from three private schools in Guangzhou and Foshan, China. The findings indicate that participants anticipated a significant improvement in their future social status. Of the factors influencing this belief, community integration has the most significant impact (TE = 0.246), followed by school integration (TE = 0.220) and family socioeconomic status (TE = 0.053). We also found that children’s self-concept plays a role in their perceptions of social mobility. Based on the study results, we propose recommendations to provide migrant children additional protection and enhance their living environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5685
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • migrant children
  • social ecology
  • subjective social mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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