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Prof. Dr. Yu Song

Song Yu

Fellow in the project "Social Worlds: China's Cities as Spaces of Worldmaking" (July - August 2023)

Short Biography

Yu Song is professor and director of the XIPU Institution, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. Her research interests include local governance, gender and social development, migration and urbanization, industrial development, and ageing society in China. Her recent publications include articles on age-related digital divide, family planning policy, women’s political participation, and migration in China.


Migrant grandparents: Care arrangements and identity (re)formation

It was reported about 18 million elderly population left their hometowns and stayed in cities, and 43 per cent of them migrated for the purpose of taking care of their grandchildren. Significant problems and tensions have emerged among migrant grandparents and their families, due to the dual roles of migrant grandparents as children care providers and elderly care receivers, and their separations from their life routines, household registrations and entitled medical care in their hometowns. This research examines the care arrangements and identities (re)formation of migrant grandparents, which will enrich scholarly understanding of “retirement migration”.

The proposed research aims to answer the following three research questions: (1) What are the demographic characteristics of migrant grandparents? (2) How do migrant grandparents arrange for children care and elderly care? (3) How do the care arrangements shape migrant grandparents’ identities in their families and residing cities?

The research will conduct semi-structured interviews with 40 migrant grandparents in Suzhou which is the second largest destination city receiving migrants. The interviews will include the following information: personal information (age, sex, household registration, education, career before retirement, pension); family information (number of children, children’s sex, education, career, type and size of housing, grandchildren’s sex and age); care arrangements (grandchildren care, elderly care, and medical care); identities (How do migrant grandparents identify themselves in families: an affiliated member of or a care provider to the core families of their children? How do migrant grandparents identify themselves in cities: an outsider or a new citizen?)