China's younger migrants eye more than money

China's younger migrants eye more than money

BEIJING - Unlike her father, who did not venture out of central Henan province to work in Beijing until he was in his 30s, florist Su Ya left her home for the bright lights of the capital three years ago - when she was only 20.

Ms Su makes new friends through floral arrangement classes and keeps in touch with them through social media, such as the Twitter-like Weibo microblogs. Her parents mix mostly with colleagues and fellow Henan natives.

Ms Su is keen to settle down for good in the capital. But her father and mother - aged 50 and 40 and working as a waterproofing worker and a cleaner respectively - want to retire in their rural Xiangcheng county home town.

"I don't like Beijing that much but I am used to the fast-paced living and prosperity of big cities," she said. "If you want me to go back to my old home town, I will be disappointed."

The contrast between Ms Su and her parents embodies the differences between China's younger migrant workers and their predecessors, a government report has shown.

Three out of four of these "new generation" migrants - those born in or after 1980 - packed their bags for the big cities before age 20, about seven years earlier than previous generations.

Younger migrant workers also tend to take their families along with them and seek out larger cities, with the aim of moving up the social ladder, instead of just making money for survival, as their predecessors generally did.

"They do not simply leave their home towns to make money. They are seeking development in multiple ways," said Mr Wang Qian, secretary of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, which commissioned the report, at a briefing in Beijing on Sept 10.

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