To Go Or To Stay is a qualitative enquiry into how young people raised rurally in South Eastern Ontario think about and manage the decision/s to stay where they were raised, or to go urban. The intent of the research is to illuminate the mechanisms underlying these decisions, and how they are related to risk of homelessness over time. The focus is on when and how youth used formal and informal resources, to what effect.
It is in the individual and collective interest for rural youth to be prepared for success whether they choose to go or to stay. The concentration of post-secondary education in urban centres, especially when post-secondary education is increasingly considered essential to employability and financial success, makes migration the normal expectation. This systematically leaches young people from rural community life and marginalizes those who remain or return; their age cohort shrinks to invisibility, and their influence on community life diminishes.
This imbalance of rural demography has highlighted youth retention as a pressing social and economic issue. This research provides some insight into what needs to be done to ensure that rural young people have what is needed to have a successful life, whether they choose to go or to stay.
The research was funded by the Government of Canada - the Homelessness Partnering Strategy - and hosted by the Youth Emergency Shelter in the city of Peterborough. Fay Martin, MSW, PhD, designed and implemented the project under the guidance of a Stakeholders’ Research Advisory Committee which included a connection with York University.