Grandparents on the move: urban migration and grandparenting in post-one-child policy China

China is undergoing rapid rural-urban migration and population ageing that are posing significant challenges to traditional patterns of intergenerational familial support. These challenges are augmented by the fact that in rural China, where institutional social welfare is largely under-developed, support for the elderly and childcare are often exclusively provided by family members. To tackle population ageing, China’s one-child policy has been replaced with a two-child policy and subsequently a three-child policy. With limited institutional childcare facilities in place, ageing grandparents from rural areas often move to the cities where their adult migrant children settle, to provide care for grandchildren. This group of older, rural people are largely marginalized and are invisible on the current research and policy agenda. This project, thus, aims to uncover their experiences during the process of migration and adaptation, and establish the way in which this arrangement of grandparenting has impacted their everyday lives and well-being.

Principal investigator

Nan Zhang


British Academy/Leverhulme

Partner organisations

  • Global Network for Ageing Research on China (GNARC)


Nan Zhang (PhD)

Senior lecturer

Social Statistics, Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA)
Global Network for Ageing Research on China (GNARC)
Manchester Urban Ageing Research Group (MUARG)

Twitter: @gnarchina