The existing literature has documented a negative association between farm dependence and population change in Western countries. Theories have also been proposed to explain such a negative association. Whether prior findings based on the western social context can be generalized to less developed countries, such as China, has largely eluded researchers. Using five waves of Chinese Census data and data from China’s Statistical Yearbooks, I investigate the dynamics between farm dependence and population change, particularly, in counties of Chinese provinces that are highly dependent on farms. I find that after controlling for mechanization, nonfarm industries and the human ecological factors that are rooted in the theoretical explanations of rural population change, high farm dependence does not necessarily lead to a lower population growth. The results imply that the existing theories on farm dependence and population change may need to be modified when being applied to less developed regions. The regional variation approach is proposed to understand population change in high-farm-dependent areas of China.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 15, 2011
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