This study documented the experiences of Chinese rural-urban migrant children and their parents living in the host city of Chengdu, China. It was informed by previous studies but applied a theoretical lens cultural reproduction theory—to reveal deeper understanding of rural-urban migrant families’ lives in the city of Chengdu. Participants in this study were 10 families—10 migrant parents, 10 local Chengdu resident parents, 5 local Chengdu children, and 5 migrant children. Through qualitative interviews and observations the researchers created 5 family case studies, documenting differences and similarities in the lives of migrant and local resident families in Chengdu. Results indicated that children in the two groups experienced unequal childhoods. Although the Chinese central government has issued a number of proactive policies to allow migrant children to attend local urban public schools since 2003, the negative effect of the longstanding Hukou
residency policy still impacts migrant families’ lives in Chengdu. In this article we discuss an entrenched urban-rural divide between urban residents and rural-urban migrant families, in work, community, and schooling.
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