Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Adam Minter

China's Migrants Go Home -- And Stay There

China's migrants are moving back home, and not just because of the economy.
Mo' monkey, mo' problems.

Mo' monkey, mo' problems.

Photographer: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images News

Every year, tens of millions of China's 246 million migrants return home to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It's the world's biggest annual migration, and it typically goes off smoothly. This year, however, something's amiss.

Although the holiday doesn't start until Feb. 8, millions of workers -- especially in the construction and electrical-appliance industries -- have already returned home due to the country's slowing economy. For local governments across China, this is raising a tough question: What happens if these laborers don't go back to work after the holiday?