Young people have continued to flock out of densely populated rural areas of Ethiopia. The overriding objective of this study was to assess the causes for the departure of children and youth out of rural areas and the protagonists involved in the migration decision. Primary data were gathered through a survey that covered 300 migrant-sending households; and from in-depth interviews. The findings revealed that the major causes of outmigration were limited access to land and livestock resources, dissatisfaction with village life and the search for employment, the need to pay off parental debts, lack of income diversification, expansion in rural education, practice of early arranged marriage, peer influence and the lure of urban centers, and positive attitudes towards the migration of a family member. The results from Poisson regression analysis revealed that family size, educational status, sex and age of the migrant-sending household heads at initial departure of the migrant and distance of the nearest urban center to the household’s premises were found to be significant in explaining the variation in the number of children and youth migrating out of a rural household. From the results, it could be concluded that numerous economic and social motives are intermingled with demographic and environmental situations to generate outmigration.
Key words: Children, youth, rural-outmigration, migrant-sending household, causes of migration, poisson regression, Ethiopia.
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