Population and Migration: European and Chinese Experiences Compared

Anne Winter

in The Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199589531
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Population and Migration: European and Chinese Experiences Compared

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  • History
  • Social and Cultural History



This article examines the demographic, spatial, social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of migration to late medieval and early modern cities. It considers European experiences from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries, and explores parallels and contrasts with Chinese cities from the Song to Qing dynasties. The chapter discusses the overall demographic importance of urban migration, and then compares and juxtaposes different types of migration, before considering aspects of migration regulation and overall implications for patterns of urban integration. Migration was a pervasive feature of urban life. Although more forced migration occurred in Asia than Europe, in other ways the typology of mobility was broadly similar, distinguished by: short distance migration of poorer folk often from the countryside; more long-distance intercity movement by merchants, officials, and the like; and ethnic and female migration. Patterns of integration in China may have been less institutional than in Europe with its municipal controls, more dependent on native place associations.

Keywords: urban migration; late medieval cities; early modern cities; Chinese cities; European cities

Article.  8429 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History

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