Diverse values of urban-to-rural migration: A case study of Hokuto City, Japan

Yasuo Takahashi, Hiroyuki Kubota, Sawako Shigeto, Takahiro Yoshida, Yoshiki Yamagata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The global population is concentrating unprecedentedly into urban areas, raising concerns on global sustainability and human well-being. There also exists a niche trend of migration from urban to rural areas particularly in countries with post-industrial economies. This paper investigated values of migration expressed by the migrants arrived in Hokuto City, a Japanese rural municipality experiencing pervasive population decline but is also a popular destination for migrants from urban areas. Statistical analyses of 868 responses to a Hokuto City's migrant survey between April 2017 and January 2019 identified their common values of migration, i.e., nature, housing and food. In addition to these common values, households with different demographic characteristics had different priorities: employment for singles in ages between 16 and 29; favorable environment for raising children for married couples in their 30s and 40s; not specific or ‘lifestyle’ for migrants in 50s; and staying with or near family for retirees over 60 years. Knowledge of heterogeneity in migrants and of their values, as described herein, will enable targeted policies and public services concerning migration. Widespread acceptance of teleworking after experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic might offer people of working age, particularly in their 20s and younger, a wider range of options of places to work and live, and thus is likely to influence future urban-rural population flow. A more detailed analysis of the region's natural attributes which are central to the values of migration to rural areas, such as Hokuto City, will be useful to inform regional land use planning that is salient to the values of migrants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-299
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct


  • Amenity migration
  • COVID-19
  • Depopulation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Lifestyle migration
  • Socio-ecological systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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