That the festival triggers such huge human movements eac

ch year is linked to how rapid urbanization has driven and been driven by China’s historically

high annual economic growth rates over the past four decades of reform and opening-up.

With the benefits of migration increasingly visible, and the main obstacles to rural-to-urban migration removed (including through massively ex

panded transport infrastructures), the number of internal migrants has increased by 35 times between 1982 and 2018.

However, China’s household registration system complicates the migration process. For m

any reasons, a major unintended effect of migration has been the creation of large populations of left-beh

ind family members-elderly parents, spouses and children, each of these subsets totaling tens of millions.

Beyond the gift-sharing and merrymaking of family reunions, Spring Festival pr

ovides opportunities for improving care arrangements for left-behind parents, spouses and children.

This social value of the festival is important since we know that despite on

going improvements, left-behind children and elderly people have poorer ac

cess to quality education, health and social protection services, compared with their peers in the big towns and cities.

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