Uncovering children in marginalisation: explaining unregistered children in China

Yingying Zhou, University of Washington

Each Chinese citizen is required to be registered under the household registration system to be entitled to legitimacy and basic rights, including medical care, education, and employment. With the implementation of the one-child policy the number of unregistered children has been rising. To enhance our limited understanding of these marginalized children, this study uses Chinese 1990 census 1% sample data to examine the determinants of unregistration for infants under 18 months old, and children under 10. Rate of unregistration is lower for the latter, suggesting more recognition for children as they grow, but also inidicating loopholes in local registration and census administration in that there is severe undercounting of unregistered infants. In comparing child, maternal and community characteristics, community characteristics shape much of the unregistration picture. There appears to be different registration regimes in rural and urban, and for migrants and non-migrants. The result suggests important policy recommendations.

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Presented in Session 65: Children in motion: challenges for demographic explanation