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Geographic inequality and ethnic stratification in China, 2000 to 2010

Danielle Xiaodan Morales (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas, El Paso, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 17 June 2019

Issue publication date: 3 September 2019




The purpose of this paper is to extend current knowledge by focusing on three geographic factors (minority-Han residential segregation, rural-urban disparities and regional differences) and their effects on educational and occupational outcomes of Chinese ethnic minorities from 2000 to 2010.


Data from the 2000 and 2010 Chinese decennial censuses were used, and both descriptive and multivariate analyses were conducted.


Results revel that there were regional differences in terms of educational segregation between minorities and the Han. It was also difficult for minority groups that were residentially segregated from the Han and mainly located in rural areas or western/southeastern regions to obtain high-level education. When minority groups were residentially segregated from the Han, they tended to have higher levels of occupational segregation from the Han; while minority groups with larger percentages of rural residents tended to have smaller percentages of people obtained high-status occupations. Despite China’s rapid social and economic development, ethnic disparities in education did not significantly change, and ethnic gaps in occupational attainment were widened from 2000 to 2010.

Social implications

Geographic sources of ethnic conflicts in China should not be overlooked, and future researchers should also conduct studies on Chinese ethnic minorities at individual or household level.


This study contributes to the literature in two major ways: first, all Chinese minority groups were included in the analyses to clarify intra-ethnic differences; second, data from two Chinese decennial censuses and longitudinal statistical modeling were used to investigate the effect of time on ethnic stratification.



Conflict of interest: the author has no conflict of interest. Ethical approval: this article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. For this type of study formal consent is not required.


Morales, D.X. (2019), "Geographic inequality and ethnic stratification in China, 2000 to 2010", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 39 No. 7/8, pp. 535-549.



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