AccScience Publishing / IJPS / Volume 7 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.36922/ijps.v7i2.346
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Exploring assimilation as a combination of objective and subjective processes: A case study of rural-to-urban migrants in China

Zhenxiang Chen*
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1 Department of Sociology, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3C3, Canada
IJPS 2021, 7(2), 33–46;
Submitted: 8 September 2022 | Accepted: 19 November 2022 | Published: 7 December 2022
© 2022 by the Author(s). Licensee AccScience Publishing, Singapore, Singapore. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0) ( )

This paper explores assimilation as a two-path process, in which its objective and subjective components are studied simultaneously using structural equation modeling for rural-to-urban migrants in China. This model considers the choice of reference group by the migrants themselves and the assimilation process into the reference group. Structural equation modeling results show that it can be beneficial for assimilation studies to allow migrants to choose their own reference group and to include the subjective path (i.e., assimilation into the migrants’ chosen reference group) along with the objective path (i.e., assimilation into the mainstream). This can be achieved as follows: (1) The intertwining between the subjective and objective paths can disentangle assimilation into a process driven by two forces; (2) major stratification factors affecting the objective path through the subjective path may be identified; and (3) the impacts of assimilation on important migrant outcomes, such as subjective well-being, can be studied and separated into subjective and objective components.

Reference group
Subjective well-being

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Conflict of interest
The author declares no competing of interest.
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