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University pathways of urban and rural migration in Iceland

University pathways of urban and rural migration in Iceland

Title: University pathways of urban and rural migration in Iceland
Author: Bjarnason, Thoroddur   orcid.org/0000-0002-1400-231X
Edvardsson, Ingi Runar   orcid.org/0000-0002-1167-3994
Date: 2017-08
Language: English
Scope: 244-254
University/Institute: Háskólinn á Akureyri
University of Akureyri
Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Hug- og félagsvísindasvið (HA)
School of Humanities and Social Sciences (UA)
Félagsvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Social Sciences (UI)
Department: Félagsvísinda- og lagadeild (HA)
Faculty of Social Sciences and Law (UA)
Viðskiptafræðideild (HÍ)
Faculty of Business Administration (UI)
Series: Journal of Rural Studies;54
ISSN: 0743-0167
DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.07.001
Subject: Universities; Distance education; Migration; Mobility; Iceland; Háskólar; Fjarnám; Búferlaflutningar
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/1073

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Bjarnason, T. og Edvardsson, I. R. (2017). University pathways of urban and rural migration in Iceland. Journal of Rural Studies, 54, 244-254. doi:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.07.001


Low levels of education have serious social, economic and cultural ramifications in rural areas. In many countries, regional universities have explicitly been built to educate the local population, create professional jobs and stimulate innovation. More recently, distance education has been developed to provide university education in rural regions and diminish brain drain towards urban centres. In this study, the pathways of Icelandic university graduates are traced from place of origin to residence five years after graduation. An overwhelming majority of local students at the national University of Iceland (UI) remain in the Reykjavík Capital Area after graduation, while others mostly emigrate abroad. Only about one in three UI students from regions beyond commuting distance return after graduation, while about half remain in the capital area and others mostly emigrate. The regional University of Akureyri (UNAK) in Northern Iceland is relatively successful in retaining graduates from North Central region, but on-campus students from regions beyond commuting distance from UNAK are no more likely to return after graduation than their UI counterparts. In sharp contrast, about three in four UNAK distance students remain in their region of origin after graduation. While regional universities may primarily strengthen regional centres, distance education has the potential to enhance educational levels in more distant exurban, micropolitan and rural areas.


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