Hometown Landscapes


According to a study by the US Department of Agriculture, "Return migrants potentially play a critical role in their rural home communities by slowing population loss, generating jobs, and increasing human, social, and financial capital. However, little is known about rates of return migration to different types of places, the timing of moves back home, or the socioeconomic characteristics of returnees compared with other groups. Severe data limitations hamper standard quantitative assessments. Most migration data sources cannot adequately identify return migrants, especially those moving back to rural areas, and research findings vary considerably depending on who gets counted (von Reichert, 2002; Wilson et al., 2009). Also, return migration peaks among adults in their late 20s and 30s, an age period of migration that grabs fewer headlines compared with youth or retirement migration and garners less research attention than is warranted given its demographic influence and policy relevance."