Formal Education and Migration Aspirations in Ethiopia
Kerilyn Schewel, Sonja Fransen
Expanding access to formal education is a universal aim of development policy worldwide, and young people today are gaining access to schooling on unprecedented levels. Taking Ethiopia as a case study, this paper explores the mobility impacts of increasing educational attainment. First, we analyse internal migration data for Ethiopia using national Labour Force Survey data, and find that that rural-to-urban migration has now replaced rural-to-rural migration as most common migration trajectory within Ethiopia. The pursuit of work and education were key motivations for rural-to-urban migration, and those with higher levels of education moved more. Second, we show how rising levels of primary and secondary education influence aspirations to migrate, distinguishing between internal and international destinations. Using novel survey data collected among rural and urban Ethiopian youth for the Young Lives project, we find that even completing primary levels of education increases the aspiration to live elsewhere. By studying the linkages between education and migration aspirations, alongside other development indicators like wealth, employment, and levels of self-efficacy, this paper contributes to an on-going debate about the relationship between development and migration and challenges common assumptions that migration is simply driven by poverty and need in poorer countries.