The lure of higher wages, a better life for their families, and education for their children lead people from various provinces to the big cities. While migrant workers in China inject themselves into the world of demanding labor with the promise of generous pay, they face many challenges which combine to make their lives difficult, their circumstances nearly insurmountable and their future bleak. The downturn of the Chinese economy brings several new concerns into play for these who work so hard. The inequality stretches from working conditions and healthcare, to housing and job training, education for children and gender discrimination. Overall, the disparity between urban residents and urban migrants is great and the programs and organizations currently in place to help bridge the gap are inadequate in numbers.
According to the 2005 Government Census and research done by the All-China Women’s Federation, the provinces of Sichuan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Anhui and Henan seem to experience the greatest exodus of migrant workers leaving for job opportunities in other provinces. However, the additional provinces of Guizhou, Guangxi, Hubei, and Jiangsu also significantly add to the migrant population. If the migration numbers continue to rise, the government will increasingly need to come face to face with some daunting issues. Already the cities are straining to contain the masses settling in and the infrastructure often cannot adequately support those already living there.