Affinity for Small Towns: The Role It Plays in Rural Recruitment and Migration

Ronald E. Cossman, Mississippi State University
Philip B. Mason, Mississippi State University
Jeralynn S. Cossman, Mississippi State University
Katherine Harney, Mississippi State University

Affinity for place is a key component to individual migration decision-making. Recruitment to rural places is based, in part, on the assumption that individuals raised in a rural area have an affinity for rural places and are therefore more likely to return to their hometown or a similar rural area. We test that affinity hypothesis in a pilot survey (N=101) of nursing students in Mississippi. We ask “Assuming that a suitable job opportunity (for example, salary, specialty area, etc.) was available, where would you want to work in Mississippi when you graduate?” We match responses with birthplace, high school and location of family. We code the respondents’ cities via the rural-urban continuum county code and calculate correlations to similar sized communities. The results quantify the role that affinity plays in the migration decision and reveals whether those raised in small towns yearn to return to a small town. Some do.

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Presented in Poster Session 5