Importance of Community Attachment on Willingness to Return to Hometown after Graduation

Date: May 4, 2020

Stough-Hunter and Lekies (2020) examined the factors influencing students’ desire to return to their hometowns to live and work after graduation. Data were collected in 2016 and 2017 through a survey administered to 149 physician assistant students at Midwestern University (USA).  The researchers concluded that the strongest predictor of willingness to return to one's hometown was community attachment.

Previous research also highlights the influence of place attachment on rural young adults’ decisions regarding location and career path. Even though job opportunities highly influence rural youth residential choices, community connections play a key role in their decision-making process.

This research was published in the Journal of Rural and Community Development (JRCD), Volume 15, Issue 1. You can read the full article at

Recognizing the importance of community attachment in predicting young adults’ interest in living and working in rural communities, the Rural Ontario Institute is piloting a program that will prepare young adults to mobilize action for their community: Rural Change Makers. Learn more about Rural Change Makers at