Push and Pull Factors in Rural Filipino Youth's Outmigration from Agricultural Communities

Rural youth outmigration is a phenomenon that can change the agricultural landscape of farming communities. The Philippines has witnessed an unprecedented youth exodus from rural to urban areas in past decades. This paper explored this issue in rice farming communities in two Philippine provinces, Aurora and Albay. Sixty-eight farmers’ children aged 13–21 years old participated in this research. This paper analyzed the level of youth involvement in farm work and their perceptions on farming, which can ultimately inform their decision to migrate or continue farming. Parental discourses influencing youth decisions to migrate were then investigated. This research used mobility maps, time transects, photovoice outputs, in-depth and key informant interviews, and group discussions. While intentions to migrate were high, young individuals had a strong desire to remain connected to their family’s farms. Hence, policymakers would do well to assist those who leave the rural areas and return after some time. Equal attention should be given to those who may not return to rural areas but are willing to invest in farming to employ their poor relatives. Migrants can often raise the resources needed to finance the input-intensive rice farming operations.

Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2013

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