Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental and Energy Policy (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Social Sciences


Richelle L. Winkler


Young adult migration is a key factor in community development. The goal of this paper is to study what kinds of places attract young adults and what kinds are losing them. Linear regression is conducted to analyze what place-specific factors explain migration patterns among young adults. These factors include economic, social, and environmental variables. This study finds that social and environmental factors are just as important as economic ones. Specifically, employment in the arts increases young adult net migration. Environmental variables, for example, natural amenities and protected federal lands are particularly important in rural settings in attracting young adults. These findings suggest that policy makers interested in attracting and retaining young adults should pay closer attention to social and environmental factors and consider creating more opportunities for arts employment in general. For rural areas, improving the attractiveness of natural amenities and better protection of federal lands is also recommended.