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When Family Carries Weight... Deciding Whether to Live in a Rural Area or Move Away

Myriam Simard

Aging together with low demographic growth in many parts of Quebec, more especially in rural areas, is creating a major challenge for the State, for municipalities and for a range of local stakeholders. How is one to attract and conserve new populations in localities that are less populated than cities and that can offer fewer services? Based on a synthesis of my research into the process of insertion of a range of populations into Quebec rural areas (immigrant farmers, seasonal agricultural workers, regionally-based young immigrants, general practitioners, new countryfolk) the present article will highlight the interaction of a number of factors that may contribute to one’s decision to live in a rural environment or to move away from it. Whereas writings on the subject do in general place more emphasis on the professional, financial or personal factors, I will look more into the less obvious factors, such as the family factors that relate to the spouse and children, and the socio-community based and cultural factors, along with those linked to the natural environment. I will conclude by proposing some avenues for discussion and behaviours that could increase the attraction of the countryside and the desire to remain there..