Journal Article

Social networks and health among rural–urban migrants in China: a channel or a constraint?

Yan Li and Shufang Wu

in Health Promotion International

Volume 25, issue 3, pages 371-380
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
Social networks and health among rural–urban migrants in China: a channel or a constraint?

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This article concentrates on analysing social networks and health among rural–urban migrants in China. The function that social networks substantially play on the issue of health among migrants in China has rarely been discussed in studies. On the basis of a case study of a migrant community in Beijing, this paper examines the range of social networks among migrants, from which they can acquire support, including financial and spiritual, when they are dealing with health problems. Social networks resemble a double-edged sword to rural–urban migrants in terms of health-care access. The fact that migrants lack savings may not be the sole and essential reason for their extreme vulnerability in times of illness. Some migrants, who are in financial difficulties though, may have some assistance, including financial and emotional support from their social networks. But on the other hand, their limited social networks bring them many negative effects on their health, as well as restricting health-care access.

Keywords: social networks; health-care access; rural–urban migrants; China

Journal Article.  6454 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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