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Young migrants’ views of their present and future in Niamey and Niger

  • Cantrell, Randall1
  • Yaye’, Moussa2
  • Hungerford, Hilary3
  • Forthun, Larry1
  • Irani, Tracy1
  • Cantrell, Vance4
  • 1 University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA , Gainesville (United States)
  • 2 Universite’ Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger , Niamey (Niger)
  • 3 Utah Valley University, 800 West University Parkway, Orem, UT, USA , Orem (United States)
  • 4 University of South Florida, 3010 USF Banyon Circle, Tampa, FL, 33612, USA , Tampa (United States)
Published Article
SN Social Sciences
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
May 17, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s43545-021-00150-5
Springer Nature


Migration often involves younger individuals departing home for another location to earn money. This study’s contribution is that it show how migrants, who are part of Niger’s youth majority, desire to be part of its economy. However, they lack formal background with business and social networks, which are both pivotal components for future success. Thus, they could find themselves at risk of being marginalized or having to return to their villages. An exploratory case study strategy was used to investigate what life is like for these young migrants. Personal interviews were conducted via semi-structured surveys. Two over-arching questions regarding respondents’ progress toward accomplishing shorter- and longer-term goals associated with migrating were offered via literature-generated prompts related to residential experiences, home/security/support, migratory habits, work/income, and person identity. On average, respondents’ age was 25 years, had lived in Niamey six years, and relocated annually. They earned enough to make a meager living while sometimes also earning some savings, sending some money back to the family in the village, or attempting a slight combination of the two options after paying for their living expenses. They contemplated marriage, family, and community, but most did not consider themselves as citizens who would one day become established community members, impacting the future. “A need to have hope for the future” was a major theme that resonated with most of the respondents. Although not representative of this study’s theme, suggestions regarding possible future policy inquiry are offered as thought-provoking points of insight for consideration.

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