Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology


Michael B. Toney


By using a social psychological approach, this research investigated whether occupational aspirations lead to migration. From the literature, we know that rural youth have lower occupational aspirations than their urban counterparts. We also know that rural youth often lower their occupational aspirations because of the confusion created between the benefits of moving for school and the attachment felt for home. We do not know, however the connection between occupational aspirations and migration. Are young to middle-aged adults in rural areas with higher occupational aspirations more likely to migrate out of rural areas than young to middle-aged adults with lower aspirations? The age group for this study is 14-35. Aspirations were measured using Duncan's socioeconomic index (SEI) with data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth in 1979. Results show that youth with high occupational aspirations migrate more than youth with medium and low occupational aspirations. They are also more likely to migrate from rural to urban counties and to have lived in a different county of residence in 1980 than 2002.



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