Dissertation Abstracts

The Exodus of Galician Young People in the Inland Rural Areas: Economic and Sociological Factors in the Post-global World

Author: Rocío Toxo-Asorei, rociotoxo@gmail.com
Department: Economía Aplicada (1), Ciencia Política e Socioloxía (2)
University: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Supervisor: Ana I. García Arias (1), Carlos Allones Pérez (2)
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: Galician

Keywords: Rural exodus , Youth , Galicia , Postglobal world
Areas of Research: Migration , Population , Youth


Given its continuity since the mid-ninetheenth, rural depopulation has been described as endemic in Europe. This phenomenon refers to the process by which, in certain areas, the rural exodus exceeds natural growth, reducing the total number of inhabitants to a critical level due to low population densities. As main causes of the rural exodus, researchers have mentioned the lack of job opportunities, access to greater possibilities for career development or the improvement of life and social status, among others. Due to these factors, young adults are the protagonists of this depopulation process and, as expected, some of the most important consequences locally are a loss of human capital, population ageing and a loss of services, consequences which feed back into the exodus and prevent the economic and social regeneration of rural areas. This is the context for our dissertation which focuses on the study of the rural exodus of young people in Galicia, a region of northwestern Spain with a strong history of emigration towards America and other countries in Europe. These migratory processes, intensified since the sixties, are a main factor of the current sharp demographic decline of rural Galicia. Also, the analyses of the recent migratory flows show that most of these areas continue to expel population, in a process that especially affects young women and that is jeopardising the demographic sustainability of more than eighty percent of the Galician territory. Therefore, our main target is to analyse the economic and sociological causes of this process, identifying the crucial elements in the decision of whether to emigrate or not. The innovative character of this dissertation resides in the study of a social phenomenon barely analised and which is contributing to a radical change of rural Galicia, making it urgent to investigate it in order to be able to design adequate policies to counter the demographic decline of rural areas.