Sexual and reproductive health

Young female migrant workers in China in need of reproductive health information and services

Social science research policy brief

UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP)

Image of policy brief

Publication details

Number of pages: 2
Publication date: 2002
Languages: English



Large industrial cities in China attract a large number of internal temporary or seasonal migrant workers from mostly rural areas. In the early 1990s, this “floating population” was estimated to be between 70 and 80 million. Women make up more than a third of this population, and about half of these women are under age 25 and most work in small factories or in the service industry. Large numbers of female migrant workers are unmarried

The reproductive health needs of these young unmarried women are not being met adequately and they are often unable to access available services. On short-term employment contracts and without permanent household residency in the city, the floating population does not receive the health and welfare benefits available to registered residents.

A study was carried out in 1998-1999 in five cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Guiyang, and Taiyuan) to learn about the reproductive health knowledge and behaviour of young female migrant workers.