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Let go, stay in touch and re-attract – what rural areas can do to lure back young adult leavers

29 February 2024
Re-attracting young adults to rural areas

The University of Groningen will research how rural areas can lure back young adult leavers to return. For decades, rural areas have experienced the outmigration of part of their young people, for example for education, work or a partner elsewhere. In the context of aging populations and increasing tightness of the labour market, many rural areas would like to see some of the 'leavers' return.

Starting March 1, the Faculty of Spatial Sciences will conduct the four-year research project ‘Let go, stay in touch and re-attract’. It explores different initiatives that rural areas can develop to stay in touch with young adult leavers and to lure them back to return to their home regions at some point in their lives. The research project provides insight into the number of young leavers and return migrants. It also examines the characteristics of the target group, such as education level, relocation behaviour of family and partner, age and life stage during departure and return. In addition, existing 'return migration' initiatives in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark will be mapped and further analyzed. These examples will provide municipalities and rural regions with perspectives on how to stay in touch with those youngsters who leave.

During annual workshops, researchers and Dutch policymakers from various rural regions will share insights and explore whether there is a need for jointly setting up initiatives to ‘let go, stay in touch and re-attract’. The research project is a collaboration between the provinces of Groningen, Fryslân, Drenthe, and Overijssel, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, and the University of Groningen.

Last modified:29 February 2024 11.26 a.m.
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