Sense of Community and Migration Intentions among Rural Young Professionals Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2019 by the Rural Sociological Society This mixed-methods study examines rural young professionals' migratory intentions in relation to sense of community. The most significant difference we found in migratory intentions was between two groups, which we call stayers and seekers. Both groups highly valued sense of community but they reported dramatically different experiences related to the dimensions of membership and emotional connection to the particular focal community of this study. We find that, in addition to commonly cited factors of age, importance of family, traditional cultural tastes, and achieved sense of community, the experience of disconnection between desired and experienced sense of community represents a distinct influence on respondents' intentions to leave within the next 5 years. The qualitative data suggest that the practices of granting greater access to local stocks of knowledge, offering direct invitations to participate in community life, and providing greater responsibilities in the service of the community cultivate emotional connection and sense of membership, and therefore may be critical to better retaining those people who feel the greatest sense of disconnection. This study examines the dynamics underlying these results and outlines practical implications for other communities hoping to combat local manifestations of brain drain.

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Wolfe, A. W., Black, L. W., & Welser, H. T.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • June 2019