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Should Beijing Control the Influx of Migrants?

A Labor Market Analysis Using the 2010 Census

Chengdong Yi, Youqing Huang, and Chuan Zhang

August 2014, English

Beijing has experienced an influx of migrants in the last decade. According to the latest 2010 census, migrants without local household registration accounted for more than one third of 19.6 million population in Beijing. This triggered again the heated debate on the proper population size of Beijing and whether the influx of migrants should be controlled. A review of migration policy in Beijing shows that the Beijing Municipal Government has remained the position of “controlling” and “managing” migration although the tactics have been more diversified and subtle in recent years. Yet, the empirical analysis using the latest 2010 census data shows that migrants have contributed to the economic development, have had a more complementary than competitive relation with local residents, and have not caused the increase of unemployment rate in Beijing. In other words, the influx of migrants has had positive impact on the labor market, thus the policy of controlling the influx of migrants in Beijing is baseless at least from the perspective of the labor market. A more lenient migrant policy is recommended.