To leave or not to leave? Analysis of the influencing factors that shape migration aspirations among Ethiopian youth.
Kort, S. de
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Ethiopia is a country that can be characterised by her long history of inwards and outwards migration flows. Nowadays Ethiopia is one of the major labour sending countries and the largest refugee hosting country in Africa (ILO, 2017). The majority of the literature on international migration flows originating from Ethiopia, is focussed on the flow of labour migration from the rural areas. These studies do not include urban youth and do not take the factors which shape migration aspirations, into account. Therefore, this study, focusses on the influences that shape migration aspirations among youth in urban centre Mekelle. Stories of youth who did not yet migrate and maybe never will, are presented in order to give insights into the influencing factors that shape these aspirations. Besides the narratives of youth with the aspiration to migrate abroad, stories of youth that prefer non-migration over migration are included as well. In order to grasp the personal narratives of the youth from Mekelle, 12 interviews were conducted with young people. Furthermore academic experts in the field of migration were interviewed in order to understand the stories of the youth in the context of emigration from Ethiopia. Lastly, 366 surveys were conducted among young people in order to explore a pattern within the influencing factors. The in depth interviews helped to obtain in-depth information and gave a better understanding of the survey output. An aspiration/ ability model, based on Caring (2002) is used to place the quantitative data and qualitative output in a literary context. This model illustrates that emigration environmental factors as well as individual level characteristics both, play a role in shaping the aspiration on whether to migrate or not. The most important environmental factors within this research were the unemployment rate among youth and the current education system. Social class and the embedding of an individual within a social network were the most important individual level characteristics, which play a role in shaping migration aspirations.