University of Oulu

Kettunen, M. (2022). “I have already imagined my life elsewhere”: A bottom-up perspective on youth outmigration. In N. Yeasmin, S. Uusiautti, T. Koivurova, & T. Heleniak (Eds.), The Future of the Arctic Human Population: Migration in the North (pp. 145-161). Routledge.

“I have already imagined my life elsewhere” : a bottom-up perspective on youth outmigration

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Author: Kettunen, Marika
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
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Language: English
Published: Routledge, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-11-13


Youth outmigration is a topical issue that underpins the transformation of sparsely populated regions worldwide. Leaving the home region and migrating to urban areas has become a compelling discourse, sometimes an unquestioned path, among young people in many post-industrial countries, including Finland. This chapter provides a bottom-up perspective on outmigration through the insights of young people in rural northern Finland and discusses regional sustainability perspectives linked to young people’s mobility. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and 23 qualitative interviews with 15–16-year-old youths, it is shown how young people negotiate their mobility based not only on structural possibilities like education but also with respect to how they position themselves in the local communities and construct their sense of (not) belonging. This chapter highlights the importance of understanding young people’s experiences and agency in the context of rural depopulation.

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ISBN: 978-1-00-318502-4
Pages: 145 - 161
DOI: 10.4324/9781003185024-15
Host publication: The future of the Arctic human population : migration in the North
Host publication editor: Yeasmin, Nafisa
Uusiautti, Satu
Koivurova, Timo
Heleniak, Timothy
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Copyright information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Future of the Arctic Human Population: Migration in the North on 13 May 2022, available online: