“Why here?”— pull factors for the attraction of non-EU immigrants to rural areas and smaller cities

Elisete Diogo

Resultado de pesquisarevisão de pares

5 Transferências (Pure)


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the crucial role of the regional dimension for economic, social, and environmental development. Sustainable development may be linked to migration management to strategically disperse international migrants to regions in need of ameliorating rural challenges. This paper explores the features affecting international migrants’ intentions to move to rural areas, such as Alentejo, Portugal, based on a set of micro-, mezzo-, and macro-sociological migration theories to support policymakers. This paper addresses the following research question: what motivates immigrants’ decisions to move to rural regions, such as Alentejo, Portugal? Practitioners (n = 8) and migrants (n = 15) were interviewed, and then a thematic analysis supported by MaxQDA 2022 was conducted. The results suggest that there is a set of motives for international migrants to move to rural areas and smaller cities based on multilevel factors, both economic and non-economic, such as the following: employment availability and promises of work; lower living costs compared to bigger cities; quality of life; local services support; and echoes of the country of origin. Migrants’ networks and seeking greater opportunities were consistent motives. The pull to rural areas, however, is a side effect of the attraction of Portugal and Europe as destinations. The conclusions highlight implications for policy and practice on migration and local development.

Idioma originalEnglish
Número do artigo184
Número de páginas21
RevistaSocial Sciences
Número de emissão4
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - abr. 2024

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