Rural youth are not all the same: but we treat them so

Which rural young people elect to migrate to the big smoke – and why?

A new study of geographic mobility of rural youth in Australia that ought to have marketing teams charged with implementing the accord salivating for new answers has been released by

Quentin Maire and Hernán Cuervo from the University of Melbourne.

The study finds that we too often fall into the trap of homogenising the presumed motivations and life trajectories of kids from the country and that the phenomenon of 18 year olds flying away from the farm for good is a selective, rather than universal phenomena.

So far so good. To find the young people ready to cut free and head to the city, the researchers found that issues such as schooling, gender, aspirations and belonging are key – and that much research in the past has focused on individual experiences, rather than methods that would better explain the diversity of rural youth.

Students who don’t feel a strong attachment to the wide brown land they grew up in, who have at least one university-educated parent and who attend a better-performing school are more likely to fly the coop.

Future Campus would agree that an examination of who is bombing out in tests and who can afford the bus fare out of town are also factors that need further research to better understand drivers of young people escaping from the country.



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