EXPLORING THE MOTIVATIONS, EXPERIENCES, AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF YOUNG PEOPLE MOVING INTO RURAL NOVA SCOTIA
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The presence or absence of young people in a rural place is one indicator of the overall state of the community. Many rural communities in Canada are experiencing high rates of out-migration of people under 30, causing concern for communities and policy makers. This research explored the motivations, experiences, and contributions of young people who are countering the trend of youth out-migration and rural population decline by moving into rural communities in Nova Scotia. Two case studies were used to gain insight into experiences across rural Nova Scotia: Maitland, East Hants County; and Liverpool, Region of Queens Municipality. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with key informants and young in- and return migrants, respectively. This study adds to the understanding of youth and rural migration, as well as connections between migration, young people, and community well-being. Quality of life, social capital and the importance of stable employment were key elements influencing the motivations and experiences of in-migrants. Returnees’ motivations and experiences were shaped by the idea of home. Young in-migrants and returnees were perceived by key informants and by themselves as adding to the sustainability, resiliency, prosperity, and vibrancy of these rural places. Their presence was recognized as critical to the future of the community.