||This study investigated return migration in the late 1990s in China during its transition from a state-planning to a market-oriented economy. Using the microdata of the fifth census conducted in 2000, we found that a total of 4.35 million returnees, with two-thirds of them being intraprovincial ones returned to their county of birth and one-third being interprovincial ones returned to the province of birth. Returnees then were mainly composed by fresh graduates from tertiary institutions who were subjected to government job assignment to the origin of hukou and solitary labor migrants who returned to join their family in the countryside. The schedule of return migration was characterized by a relatively high young adult peak in the early twenties above all the low rates in other age groups. The age concentration can be attributed to (1) the government job assignment to the birthplace intra and interprovincially, (2) return of the temporary labor migrants to join families that were more inter than intraprovincial, and (3) intraprovincial return of young females for marriage reasons. The multilevel model showed on the one hand the propensity of return migration was lower to less-developed provinces and higher from provinces with higher rate of urban unemployment, reflecting push-pull effects of market conditions. On the other hand, we found that the propensity of return was greatly enhanced among the newly graduated from the tertiary institutions, reflecting a strong institutional effect of government control on migration. The coexistence of state-planning and the market mechanism distinguished the return migration in China from those in developed countries. The findings and methodologies applied in this study provide opportunities for further research as return migration becomes increasingly important in the process of industrialization and urbanizations in China.