Help the country's migrant workers help themselves

By Zhu Yuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-10 09:58

Asked what the most valuable thing in life is, more than 90 percent of the respondents said health, followed by kinship or emotional attachments to family members.

More than 60 percent of those surveyed said wealth should be the result of hard work.

They also said having a skill or expertise in a particular field would help them improve their careers.

Without good health, migrant workers cannot make money. Most of the workers said that if they lost their health, they would have lost everything.

A sick urban resident may still earn income from a social security fund or receive money from his or her employer. Few migrant workers have ever had access to such social security. Most of them have no protection from illness at all.

That may explain why 80 percent of the migrant workers surveyed said they set aside most of their income for future use. Apart from an enduring sense of crisis, most said they saved money to invest in possible future careers and in the educations of their children.

Self-employed rural migrant workers tend to value the idea of saving money to invest in their careers, while people who are employed by others tend to save money to build houses in their rural hometowns. This strong focus on career development and their characteristically broad views make them the elite among their fellow migrant workers, and so they generally adapt much more easily to urban life.

It is widely accepted that most rural migrant workers send most of what they earn back home to support their families, and also in the hope that the accumulated money will enable them to build new houses. Most hope that their hard work in the city will improve the living standards of all members of their families.


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