The urban-rural dual structure refers not only to the urban-rural dual economic structure, but also the urban-rural dual social structure. China’s urban-rural dual structure originated from the planned economy system, and its core is the urban and rural household registration(hukou) system. The government divides its residents into two groups, agricultural and non-agricultural household registration, as urban residents normally hold agricultural hukou, yet rural residents often hold non-agricultural hukou. On this basis, dozens of related institutional arrangements have been constructed, such as grain and oil supply system, labor and employment system, social security system, etc. This system separates the urban and rural areas artificially, making the non-agricultural hukou (urban) attached with various privileges and benefits, and then forms an unequal urban-rural dual economic and social structure. Therefore, the urban-rural dual structure in China is not only featured by a disparity of natural spatial structures, but also a discrepancy of industrial and economic structure, as well as an outcome of institutional arrangements under the guidance of national policies.
Translated by Yifei Zhang