This paper aims to visualize historical traces and patterns of migration flows in China, based on survey data ranging from 1949 to 2012. The software Circos, which has been applied in other subjects such as genomics, is utilized to visualize migration flows and explore migration patterns. According to the key political, societal and economic criteria, the data is divided into six historical periods in order to investigate specific styles of policies and regulations. According to geographical and economic considerations, all provinces are classified into nine clusters or economic zones to inspect interactions between each two economic zones. The data shows that migration patterns are mainly influenced by two pivotal factors, the political mechanism and economy spontaneity. For different periods, these two forces vary accordingly. Before 1979, the migration pattern was more affected by political factors such as national planning, specific policies and regulations, and social and political movements; the economy as well as resources and opportunities were governed and allocated by political considerations, and the mechanism of economy spontaneity was relatively weak. In contrast, intrinsic spontaneity is more and more obvious after 1980. The pattern of migration is more influenced by economic factors, as more migration is driven by economic differences between unbalanced areas. With less and less regulation and fewer restrictions, people spontaneously migrated to more developed areas or cities looking for better employment, education, and other resources.
Chinese Sociological Dialogue – SAGE
Published: Jun 1, 2018