Should I stay or should I go? Alpine brain drain and brain gain: the reasons behind the choices of young mountain people

Elena Ferrario, Martin Francis Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


One of the most significant demographic trends in the Alps is the out-migration of young people. Nevertheless, in certain areas, young people are deciding to return to their valley of origin after completing their higher education. Through research in a valley of the Eastern Italian Alps, this paper addresses this complex phenomenon, by analysing the relationships between the education level of young people, their choices to stay, return to, or leave the valley and the reasons behind these choices. Job opportunities, quality of life, and sense of belonging were identified as key factors. The research also considered the necessary policies to minimise brain drain and maximise brain gain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Alpine Research/Revue de Geographie Alpine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Italian alps
  • repopulation
  • brain drain
  • brain gain

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