Since China's reform and opening up started more than two decades ago, a special social group has come into being. Mostly coming from the countryside, they are mainly doing low-paying manual work in the fields of construction, commerce, service and so on. They become the floating population in big cities, called as migrant workers or peasant workers.
China's floating population has increased from 70 million of 1993 to 140 million of 2003, exceeding 10 percent of the total population and accounting for about 30 percent of rural labor force.
At present, the general floating direction is from the countryside to cities, from underdeveloped regions to developed regions, and from central and western areas to eastern costal areas.
According to results of China's Fifth Population Census, 65 percent of them are floating within province and 35 percent across provinces. Most of the floating people are young, with those between 15 and 35 taking over 80 percent of the total.
By People's Daily Online