Born in Norwich, Miéville was brought up in Willesden and has lived in London since early childhood. He grew up with his sister Jemima and mother Claudia, a translator, writer and teacher. His parents separated soon after his birth, and he has said that he "never really knew" his father. They chose his first name, China, from a dictionary, looking for a beautiful name. By virtue of his mother's birth in New York City, Miéville holds dual American and British citizenship.