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National Bureau of Statistics: Chinese Farm Workers Exceeded 250 Million

A recent National Bureau of Statistics report show that, in 2011, the population of Chinese farm workers, farmers who left their land and chose to work in cities, reached 252 million, up by 4.4 percent from 2010. Of these workers, there were 158 million migrant workers who travel outside their local region to find jobs, 3.4 percent more than 2010. The report showed that 65.4 percent of farm workers were concentrated in the eastern region, down 1.5 percent from 2010; 17.6 percent were in the central region, up by 0.7 percent; 16.7 percent were in the western region, up by 0.8 percent; and the balance of 0.3 percent worked in Hong Kong, Macau, or outside of China.

The survey also reported that there were fewer farm workers who worked outside of their residential province. The jobs that the farm workers held remained in the manufacturing, construction, and service industries. The average monthly income for the migrant workers in 2011 was 2,049 yuan (US$350), up by 21.2 percent from 2010. The middle and central regions had a greater increase than the Eastern region. There has been improvement in delayed wages and extended working hours. The level of participation in social insurance has improved but still remains low.

The term "migrant worker" refers to the farm workers who work outside of their residential village or town for more than 6 months. The sample survey was conducted among 200,000 farm workers from 7,500 villages and 899 counties in 31 provinces.

Source: Xinhua, April 28, 2012