‘Love knows no (spatial) boundaries?‘: investigating diversity in the residential location choices of rural-residing couples upon union formation

Sara Ferguson*, Gemma Catney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

This paper focuses on the residential location choices made by rural-residing couples with diverse residential biographies at union formation. We explore how this decision-making process is navigated and negotiated as a newly formed household. The study is informed by prior research that has aided our understanding of the relational nature of moving and staying processes, and the integral role of life course transitions in shaping residential decisions. We use data from the wider STAYin(g)Rural project, including a large household survey and in-depth interviews with individuals living in rural Northern Ireland (specifically, the case study site of the Clogher Valley, County Tyrone) who have undergone union formation, and decided to either move to, or stay within, the area. We find that, despite considerable heterogeneity within and between couples in their residential biographies, several common, often inter-related, themes dominated their rural residential location choices. Underpinning much of the desire to live and stay in the rural was a strong sense of belonging and attachment to the area, with a complex interplay of economic, environmental, geographical, and social factors acting to enable staying. Clear generational differences in the decision-making process emphasise the importance of exploring distinctions between and across life course stages in studies that aim to understand the process of (rural) staying.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-466
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume97
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 07 Jan 2023

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