Focusing on the onset of circularity, this paper examines the first outward-moves and firstinward-moves of rural–urban migrants in China. Using event-history analysis, we investigate the impacts of time-varying individual and household characteristics on the mobility of 787 rural workers from six villages in Anhui Province, based on a longitudinal study of 150 households for the period 1980 to 2009. The findings show that the probability of initiating the first outwardmove and first inward-move is affected by age, gender, education, decade, and life-cycle and household-arrangement factors such as the location of dependent children, spouse, and elderly parents. New-generation migrants are more likely to move outward and spend longer time outside the home location than their predecessors. Gender differences persist; women continue to be less likely to move outward and more likely to return, and their mobility patterns are much more sensitive to caregiving needs than men. These results suggest that migrants’ circularity will persist and that China’s urbanization policy should consider multi-locality as a central component of migration.
Rural–urban migration, circularity, gender, generations, household strategies, China, event history analysis