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Migrants Climbing Social Ladder: Survey
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Young migrant workers in Guangdong Province want better education, more respect, and are generally more self-centered than their elders who moved to the province one or two decades ago. They are also eager to remain as city dwellers, a recent survey has said.

At the end of 2006, Guangdong had 93 million residents, 26 million of whom were migrant workers. Of those, some 20 million were aged between 18 and 28, the survey, conducted by the Guangdong Youth Research Center earlier this month, said.

More than 23 percent of the province's migrant workers have graduated from colleges for professional training or have higher educational qualifications, the survey said.

Jiang Shishan, 53, who took part in the survey, is from east China's Fujian Province and is currently working as a cleaner in a factory in Dongguan, one of Guangdong's main manufacturing centers.

This is his second time living in the province. In 1977, he worked as a manual laborer to support his wife and children back home.

Jiang said he returned to be close to his daughter, who works in the city, and to earn some money for her wedding.

However, his daughter Jiang Yanfeng, who is in her early 20s, said she was in the city for a different reason. Her goal is to work for a State-owned company and get a permanent residence in Dongguan.

"Then I will be a real city dweller," she said.

And instead of sending money back home, Jiang prefers to spend it on traveling.

Yang Xiaoming, 23, also took part in the survey. A native of central China's Hubei Province, he first worked as a motorcycle repairman in Dongguan. However, after studying computer science, he is now a white-collar worker with a computer company.

A separate survey conducted by the center found that 32 percent of young migrant workers moved to Guangdong to pursue careers in technology.

It also found that more than half the young migrants wanted to settle down in a city, even though they would not be able to get a permanent residence and would face many social problems.

Zheng Xinzhen, director of sociology at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, said: "The first generation came here to earn money, while the second generation's goal is to gain experience and improve their social status."

Cai He, a social sciences professor at Sun Yat-sun University, said young migrants were influenced by the social values of city citizens.

"They earn money for themselves, but don't want to return home. They get used to the lifestyle," he said.

(China Daily May 29, 2007)

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