Exploring the Migration Intentions of Ghanaian Youth: A Qualitative Study

  • Mavis Dako-Gyeke


Migration is a multidimensional phenomenon with both positive and negative effects. However, the extent to which migration positively or adversely affects the life opportunities of people, especially the youth abroad, is partly influenced by the aspirations and expectations of the migrants prior to embarking on their journeys. Drawing on macro-, meso-, and micro- level migration theories, this qualitative study explored the intentions for out-migration among final-year university students in Ghana. Thirty-four students (16 males and 18 females) were purposively recruited as participants for the study. Each person participated in one of four digitally recorded focus group discussions. The data was analyzed to identify emerging themes that addressed the objectives of the study. Participants were final-year undergraduate and graduate university students, and their ages ranged between 22 and 34 years. Analysis of the data revealed that participants were eager and determined to leave Ghana, in order to seek better lives abroad. Improved standard of living, employment opportunities, and the prospects for further education featured prominently in participants’ discourses about intended migration. Additionally, the findings indicated that participants’ intentions to migrate were based on comparison between constraints in Ghana and opportunities abroad. The findings of the study draw attention to the need for research and policies that consider the aspirations, interests, and voices of youth who desire to migrate abroad.


Abroad Aspirations Ghana Intentions Out-migration Youth 



I wish to acknowledge the Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID), University of Ghana for providing a conference grant for the author to present the findings of this study at the 6th Global Conference on Diasporas: Exploring Critical Issues at Mansfield College, Oxford University, UK, in July, 2013.

Conflict of interest

I have no potential conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Work, School of Social SciencesUniversity of GhanaAccraGhana

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