They've come to the cities searching for a better life. For some, China's booming economy has been music to their ears.
For others the tune has turned more somber.
"We came to work in the city, isn't this the trend?" said migrant worker Guo Jigang.
Guo Jigang and his wife Ge Yaru have followed the China dream to Beijing
This is where it has got them.
They live in a tiny, one-room house with their baby son. There is a room for a bed, barely anything else, and for them it isn't cheap.
"Back in 2009, when we first came to Beijing, the house rent was a bit more than about 15 dollars a month, now it is five times that."
Inflation has hit the poor hard.
"Prices are high. Our daily expense is high, it is the same back in hometown. Everything is expensive. It's not easy to save money."
Like anyone Ge Yaru dreams of a better life, a bigger house, hopes for her son.
"Who doesn't want a bigger house? But you have to work hard, he has to work hard. I don't have any income, just stay home and take care of the baby, " says Ge Yaru.
For more than two decades migrant workers have flocked to the cities looking for a better life. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, but now the gap between rich and poor is growing, the economy is slowing...there are fears the good times may be over.
Analysts here say the poor in China increasingly find the doors to success are being slammed shut.
Even those who've lived the dream, are waking up to a new reality. Higher bills, longer working hours, more stress.
China's happiness meter has been measured by America's National Academy of Sciences.
Six surveys since 1990 have found that money does not bring contentment.
And here people like Guo Jigang and his family, find the value of simple things...like family.
They are expecting a second child, more hardship, more expense. They will need to find more than a thousand dollars to pay for the fine for breaching china's one child policy.
But it is a necessary burden.
"When people get old in the city they can just be sent to the old people's home, where as if we grow old we can only rely on our children. We don't have any pension we don't have any hope or anything, all of that we put it on the shoulder's of our children. So if there aren't enough kids, and something goes wrong, we are also done for."
Their dreams are small...And their values are in life simple things.
"I hope that we would be in our home, having a store open. The child would be in school, and I would be out working. Help build some houses for my family. During our lifetime, I guess we won' have any high hopes. Really any hopes are for the children."
China's economy is slowing...For a new communist party leadership the concern is what will happen if the music stops.