China's minimum livelihood guarantee programme (dibao) provides means-tested cash assistance to poor households. The programme was first established in the urban areas in the mid 1990s and was extended to the countryside in 2007. It has been managed separately for rural and urban residents. Recently a growing number of localities began to unify the programme to facilitate increasing urbanisation. This study draws on the fieldwork conducted in four localities to investigate the contributing factors and challenges to the unification. Strong economic conditions, a small share of rural population and dibao recipients, and decreasing caseloads are major factors contributing to the unification.