Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of Agricultural Extension & Education Ramin University, Iran

2 Ramin Agricultural and Natural Resources University


While migration is a basic element of population dynamics in most societies, in Iran, rural-urban migration is a particular concern of both social scientists and policy makers. Rural-urban migration accounts for over half of the growth of most Iranian cities. On the other hand, this movement is often cited as having negative effects on rural area, including a shortage of supply of agricultural labor. It is becoming common to blame rural-urban migration among young people on factors such as education and employment opportunities. This research examines the psychological factors influencing the intentions and decisions of rural young people aiming to migrate to Khuzestan Province. This study used the extend theory of planned behaviour. A questionnaire was developed using the latent variables of attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, behavioural intention, community satisfaction, and youth personal characteristics. The face and content validity of the questionnaire was confirmed by a panel of experts. The questionnaire’s internal reliability was investigated using the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. All scales indicated a good-to-excellent reliability index (0.75–0.85). Samples of young people were identified through a multi-stage, stratified random sampling strategy from two groups (young people who are ‘well educated’ and those who were not).  A total of 163 valid questionnaires were analyzed. Our results showed that adding community satisfaction as additional construct to the original Theory of Planned Behavior could significantly increase the explanatory power of the basic model. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that attitude, perceived behaviour control, as well as community satisfaction can predict 51.3% of variances in migration intentions. 

Graphical Abstract

Why Do They Want to Migrate from Rural Areas? A Psychological Perspective from Iran


Determining key factors influencing migration intention

Examining the use and efficacy of TPB in migration studies

Improving the explanatory power of TPB by adding community satisfaction to the model. 


Ajzen, I. (1985). From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In Action control (pp. 11-39). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179-211.
Armitage, C. J., & Conner, M. (2001). Efficacy of the theory of planned behaviour: A meta‐analytic review. British Journal of Social Psychology, 40(4), 471-499.
Bednaříková, Z., Bavorová, M., & Ponkina, E. V. (2016). Migration motivation of agriculturally educated rural youth: The case of Russian Siberia. Journal of Rural Studies, 45, 99-111.
Billari, F.C. (2001). The analysis of early life courses: Complex descriptions of the transition to adulthood. Journal of Population Research, 18(2), 119-142.
Bjarnason, T., & Thorlindsson, T. (2006). Should I stay or should I go? Migration expectations among youth in Icelandic fishing and farming communities. Journal of Rural Studies, 22(3), 290-300.
Burton, R.J. (2004). Reconceptualising the ‘behavioural approach’in agricultural studies: A socio-psychological perspective. Journal of Rural Studies, 20(3), 359-371.
De Jong, G. F., & Gardner, R. W. (Eds.). (2013). Migration decision making: multidisciplinary approaches to microlevel studies in developed and developing countries. Elsevier.  United States of America. Pergamon Policy Studies on International Development.
De Jong, G.F. (2000). Expectations, gender, and norms in migration decision-making. Population Studies, 54(3), 307-319.
Dinkelman, T., & Schulhofer-Wohl, S. (2015). Migration, congestion externalities, and the evaluation of spatial investments. Journal of Development Economics, 114, 189-202.
Eacott, C., & Sonn, C.C. (2006). Beyond education and employment: Exploring youth experiences of their communities, place attachment and reasons for migration. Rural Society, 16(2), 199-214.
Eversole, R. (2001). Keeping youth in communities: Education and out-migration in the south west. Rural Society, 11(2), 85-98.
Fornell, C. (1992). A national customer satisfaction barometer: The swedish experience. Journal of Marketing, 56  (1), 6-21.
Garasky, S. (2002). Where are they going? A comparison of urban and rural youths' locational choices after leaving the parental home. Social Science Research, 31(3), 409-431.
Grgić, I., Žimbrek, T., Tratnik, M., Markovina, J., & Juračak, J. (2010). Quality of life in rural areas of croatia: To stay or to leave? African Journal of Agricultural Research, 5(8), 653-660.
Groenewold, G., Bruijn, B., & Bilsborrow, R. (2006). Migration of the health belief model (hbm): Effects of psychosocial and migrant network characteristics on emigration intentions in five countries in west africa and the mediterranean region. Paper presented at the The Population Association of America 2006 Annual Meeting, March.
Haug, S. (2008). Migration networks and migration decision-making. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34(4), 585-605.
Kaiser, F. G. (2006). A moral extension of the theory of planned behavior: Norms and anticipated feelings of regret in conservationism. Personality and Individual Differences, 41(1), 71-81.
Karbasi, A.R., & Fahimi-Fard, S.M. (2011). Estimation of rural-urban migration in iran (an auto-regressive distributed lag approach). Iranian Journal of Economic Research, 16(46), 97-113.
Kirstein, K., & Bandranaike, S. (2004). Rural youth drain: Attitudes, behaviours and perceptions. Paper presented at the 12th biennial conference of the Australian Population Association ‘Population and Society: Issues, research and policy.
Li, H., & Zahniser, S. (2002). The determinants of temporary rural-to-urban migration in china. Urban Studies, 39(12), 2219-2235.
Liao, C., Chen, J.-L., & Yen, D.C. (2007). Theory of planning behavior (tpb) and customer satisfaction in the continued use of e-service: An integrated model. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(6), 2804-2822.
Lu, M. (1998). Analyzing migration decision making: relationships between residential satisfaction, mobility intentions, and moving behavior. Environment and Planning A, 30(8), 1473-1495.
Lu, M. (2011). Analyzing migration decisionmaking: Relationships between residential satisfaction, mobility intentions, and moving behavior. Environment and Planning. 30(8), 1473-1495.
Petrea, R. E. (2001). The theory of planned behavior: use and application in targeting agricultural safety and health interventions. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, 7(1), 7-9.
Thissen, F., Fortuijn, J. D., Strijker, D., & Haartsen, T. (2010). Migration intentions of rural youth in the Westhoek, Flanders, Belgium and the Veenkoloniën, The Netherlands. Journal of Rural Studies, 26(4), 428-436.
Trafimow, D., & Finlay, K. A. (1996). The importance of subjective norms for a minority of people: Between subjects and within-subjects analyses. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22(8), 820-828.
Trell, E.-M., van Hoven, B., & Huigen, P. (2012). ‘It's good to live in järva-jaani but we can't stay here’: Youth and belonging in rural estonia. Journal of Rural Studies, 28(2), 139-148.
Van Dalen, H. P., Groenewold, G., & Fokkema, T. (2005). The effect of remittances on emigration intentions in Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey. Population Studies, 59(3), 375-392.
Van Dalen, H., & Henkens, K. (2008). Emigration intentions: Mere words or true plans? Explaining international migration intentions and behavior. Explaining International Migration Intentions and Behavior (June 30, 2008).                  Retrived from      :  SSRN: or
Vogt, R.J., Allen, J.C., & Cordes, S. (2003). Relationship between community satisfaction and migration intentions of rural nebraskans.  Great Plains Research, 13 (1), 63-74.
Whitmarsh, L., & O'Neill, S. (2010). Green identity, green living? The role of pro-environmental self-identity in determining consistency across diverse pro-environmental behaviours. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30(3), 305-314.
Wiborg, A. (2004). Place, nature and migration: Students' attachment to their rural home places. Sociologia Ruralis, 44(4), 416-432.
Yazdanpanah, M., Forouzani, M., Abdeshahi, A., & Jafari, A. (2016). Investigating the effect of moral norm and self-identity on the intention toward water conservation among Iranian young adults. Water Policy, 18(1), 73-90.
Yazdanpanah, M., Hayati, D., Hochrainer-Stigler, S., & Zamani, G. H. (2014). Understanding farmers' intention and behavior regarding water conservation in the Middle-East and North Africa: A case study in Iran. Journal of Environmental Management, 135, 63-72.
Yazdanpanah, M., Komendantova, N., & Ardestani, R. S. (2015). Governance of energy transition in Iran: Investigating public acceptance and willingness to use renewable energy sources through socio-psychological model. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 45, 565-573.