"I Have a Plan to Go": Why Children and Young People in Ethiopia Move Away From Home

Nikki van der Gaag
Karin Heissier
Mobility and migration
Working paper


This policy brief draws on qualitative research relating to children and young people in ten communities (both rural and urban) across five regions who are part of the Young Lives longitudinal study of 3,000 children and young people in Ethiopia.

The analysis reveals that young people leave the family home for many reasons, including education, work and marriage. These movements are often driven by poverty, land scarcity and unemployment, and there are major differences depending on location, age, and gender.

The brief  is based on Birhanu et al. (2020) “A Stranger in All Places”: Patterns and Experiences of Mobility and Migration Among Adolescents and Young People in Ethiopia, Young Lives Working Paper 194 and is one of a set of eight summarising key findings and policy implications from research for the Young Lives fifth wave qualitative survey in 2019. This research was funded by UNICEF Ethiopia, and the working paper and this brief were funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.