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Open AccessArticle

Relationships between Land Management Scale and Livelihood Strategy Selection of Rural Households in China from the Perspective of Family Life Cycle

by Dingde Xu 1,*,†, Zhixing Ma 2,†, Xin Deng 3,†, Yi Liu 2, Kai Huang 2, Wenfeng Zhou 2 and Zhuolin Yong 2
1
Sichuan Center for Rural Development Research, College of Management of Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
2
College of Management of Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
3
College of Economics of Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work and should be considered co-first authors.
Received: 27 November 2019 / Revised: 12 December 2019 / Accepted: 23 December 2019 / Published: 2 January 2020
Rural households are micro-organizational systems that are composed of different family members. Against a background of fragmented land patterns and massive labor migration in China, it is of great significance for the sustainable development of regional economies to explore the optimal selection of livelihood strategies by rural households. Using a survey containing data from 8031 rural households from 27 provinces in China, this study analyzed the characteristics and spatial distribution trends of the land management scale, family life cycle, and livelihood strategy selection of rural households, and constructed Tobit econometric models to explore the correlations among these factors. The results show: (1) Rural households’ land management scale was primarily small-scale and, as it expanded, the proportion of the total cash income coming from agricultural activities increased. A relative majority of rural households were in the middle period of the family life cycle, and relatively few rural households were in the starting and empty nest periods. The proportion of the total cash income of rural households coming from agricultural pursuits while in the stable and the empty nest periods was relatively large, reaching 40.51% and 38.92%, respectively. In most provinces sampled, rural households’ livelihood strategies were non-agriculturally based, and the land management scale was mainly less than 0.67 ha. (2) Rural households’ land management scale positively correlated with their livelihood strategy selection. When other conditions remained unchanged, with every 1 ha increase in land management scale, the proportion of agricultural cash income in total family cash income increased, on average, by 3.7%. In comparison with rural households in the empty nest period, the proportions of agricultural cash income in the total family cash income of rural households in other family life cycles were relatively small. Specifically, for rural households in the starting, rearing, burden, stable, and maintenance periods, the proportion of agricultural cash income in the total family cash income decreased, on average, by 6.8%, 6.7%, 9.2%, 3.5%, and 16.3%, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable livelihood; land moderate scale management; family life cycle; rural China sustainable livelihood; land moderate scale management; family life cycle; rural China
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Xu, D.; Ma, Z.; Deng, X.; Liu, Y.; Huang, K.; Zhou, W.; Yong, Z. Relationships between Land Management Scale and Livelihood Strategy Selection of Rural Households in China from the Perspective of Family Life Cycle. Land 2020, 9, 11.

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