Title

The Power of Place in Return Migration

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

In the last century the U.S. has experienced a significant population shift from rural to urban areas. Young adults represent an overwhelming proportion of this shift, leaving home after high school in search of economic, educational, and recreational opportunities. While some young migrants eventually choose to return home, many do not. Much research has been devoted to the motives behind the migration of rural youth, but fewer studies have focused on return migration. To test the hypothesis that the decision of whether to return or not is based at least partially on the characteristics of the places in which the people reside, I rely on ArcGIS and a dataset of roughly 300 interviews that took place at high school reunions in 21 rural communities. The first step of my analysis was to code the interviews as either ‘away’ or ‘return’ migrants. Next, I identified the most recent place of residence for away-migrants, and the place immediately preceding the return to their hometown for return-migrants. These places were compared using three characteristics of place: natural amenity value, size of the migration place, and whether the migration place was in-state. Of those factors, the size of the migration place had the strongest impact on the migrant’s decision of whether or not to return home. Finally, using ArcGIS I created 28 maps to visualize the migration of the interviewees. Though future studies will be needed to test the influence of economic and social factors, this study provides new insight into rural return migration.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 12th, 4:20 PM Apr 12th, 4:40 PM

The Power of Place in Return Migration

UC 330

In the last century the U.S. has experienced a significant population shift from rural to urban areas. Young adults represent an overwhelming proportion of this shift, leaving home after high school in search of economic, educational, and recreational opportunities. While some young migrants eventually choose to return home, many do not. Much research has been devoted to the motives behind the migration of rural youth, but fewer studies have focused on return migration. To test the hypothesis that the decision of whether to return or not is based at least partially on the characteristics of the places in which the people reside, I rely on ArcGIS and a dataset of roughly 300 interviews that took place at high school reunions in 21 rural communities. The first step of my analysis was to code the interviews as either ‘away’ or ‘return’ migrants. Next, I identified the most recent place of residence for away-migrants, and the place immediately preceding the return to their hometown for return-migrants. These places were compared using three characteristics of place: natural amenity value, size of the migration place, and whether the migration place was in-state. Of those factors, the size of the migration place had the strongest impact on the migrant’s decision of whether or not to return home. Finally, using ArcGIS I created 28 maps to visualize the migration of the interviewees. Though future studies will be needed to test the influence of economic and social factors, this study provides new insight into rural return migration.