Gender differences in rural-urban migration and its impact on depression in later life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although rural-to-urban migration has been well researched, how gender shapes processes and outcomes, including later-life health outcomes, has not been thoroughly investigated. Guided by a life course perspective, this study explores gender differences in rural-urban migration patterns and its association with depression in later life among Chinese older adults. Exploiting rich life history data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, we employ sequence analysis to identify the typical migration trajectories of Chinese older adults. Moderated mediation analysis is then used to examine gender-specific health pathways linking migration trajectories and later-life depression. The results indicate that: rural migrants who settled in urban regions have lower level of depression in later life than ‘return migrants' who moved back to rural areas or those who were rural non-migrants; the gender gap in depression is marginally smaller among early urban settlers than rural non-migrants; and household income in later life has stronger mediation effects for migrant men than for migrant women. The study therefore highlights the importance of considering the role of gender when designing policies aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of migrants in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102890
JournalHealth & Place
Early online date22 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Gender
  • Life course perspective
  • Mental health
  • Migration trajectory
  • Rural-urban migration
  • Sequence analysis

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


Dive into the research topics of 'Gender differences in rural-urban migration and its impact on depression in later life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this