“City Lights or Quiet Nights?” Perceptions of Urban versus Rural Life among Young Adult Rural to Urban Migrants in Thailand

Elizabeth Nauman, Tulane University
Mark VanLandingham, Tulane University

We examine perceptions of city life among rural-to-urban migrants in Thailand. Employing a mixed methods approach, we analyze longitudinal survey data and qualitative interviews to assess whether perceptions of city life are associated with subsequent rural-to-urban migration; whether migrants’ perceptions change from pre- to post-migration; and how migrants' perceptions compare with their counterparts who live in rural and urban areas. The perception that it is easier to earn income in urban areas is associated with subsequent migration, which underscores the prominence of economic motivations for migration. Changes in migrants’ perceptions of city life from pre- to post- migration reflect a contrast between optimistic expectations before they move and perhaps more practical perceptions after moving to the city. Finally, migrants' perceptions after moving to the city differ from the perceptions of rural and urban residents in ways that reflect important aspects of the migration experience and adaptation to the urban environment.

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Presented in Poster Session 8