Open Access Open Badges Research article

RH knowledge and service utilization among unmarried rural-to-urban migrants in three major cities, China

Zhiyong Liu12, Minmin Zhu13, Hassan H Dib4, Zi Li5, Shuhua Shi1 and Zengzhen Wang1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, NO. 13 Hangkong Road, Wuhan, 430030, Hubei, PR China

2 School of Medicine & Health Management, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, NO. 13 Hangkong Road Wuhan, 430030, Hubei, PR China

3 Shenzhen Nanshan Center for Chronic Diseases Control, NO. 7 Huaming Road, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, 518054, Guangdong, PR China

4 Peking University Health Science Center, School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management, NO. 38 Xue Yuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100083, PR China

5 School of Public Management, Chongqing Technology and Business University, NO. 27, Xuefu Road, Nanan District, Chongqing, 40067, PR China

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:74  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-74

Published: 2 February 2011



Large numbers of unmarried migrants are on the continuous move from rural-to-urban areas within China mainland, meanwhile their Reproductive Health (RH) is underserved when it is compared with the present urban RH policies. The purpose of this study is to investigate the RH knowledge and the utilization of RH services among unmarried migrants.


A cross-section survey was performed in three cities in China-Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Wuhan. A total of 3,450 rural-to-urban unmarried migrants were chosen according to a purposive sampling method. Around 3,412 (male: 1,680, female: 1,732) were qualified for this study. A face-to-face structured questionnaire survey was used, which focused on the knowledge concerning "fertility, contraception and STD/AIDS," as well as RH service utilization.


Among unmarried migrants the RH knowledge about pregnancy-fertilization (29.4%) and contraception (9.1%) was at its lowest level. Around 21% of unmarried migrants had pre-marital sexual experience and almost half (47.4%) never used condoms during sexual intercourse. The most obtained RH services was about STD/AIDS health education (female: 49.6%, male: 50.2%) and free prophylactic use of contraceptives and/or condoms (female: 42.5%, male: 48.3%). As for accessing RH checkup services it was at its lowest level among females (16.1%). Those who migrated to Shenzhen (OR = 0.64) and Guangzhou (OR = 0.53) obtained few RH consultations compared to those in Wuhan. The white collar workers received more RH consultations and checkup services than the blue collar workers (all group P < 0.01).


RH knowledge and the utilization of RH services amongst unmarried migrants remain insufficient in the three studied major cities. This study reveals the important gaps in the RH services' delivery, and highlights the requirements for tailored interventions, including further research, to address more effectively the demands and the needs of the unmarried migrant populations.