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Why are so Many Young People Leaving Wales?

Census data reveals that Wales is experiencing record low growth

Census information provided by Ceredigion Senedd member Elin Jones reveals that, whilst the population of Wales remains at its highest in history, its population growth is at a record low.

Ceredigion has experienced a 28% drop in young demographics ranging from 15 to 19-year olds, and the number of 40 to 44-year olds also fell by 26%. Many centennials want to work in Wales but are deeply concerned with the lack of opportunities available. Those who grew up in Wales feel at home but want to see the world.

Brecon Beacons in Wales

Brecon Beacons in Wales © Vecteezy

Most centennials expect to face financial pressures as a challenge while living in rural areas. They believe rising costs will make things harder for them to keep a job and children as young as ten are concerned with the lack of opportunities growing up and believe they’ll need to leave the area to achieve what they want.

This is a problem known as the brain drain: a situation where talented young people move out of the country looking for better jobs and opportunities elsewhere. The reason authorities consider this as a problem is the most highly competent individuals who usually contribute a substantial amount to the economy, are leaving, which could lead to economic hardships due to the lack of know-how in the local environment.

However, while many are leaving in search of more opportunities, others feel the need to stay in their hometown and give back to the community that raised them. The Guardian interviewed many professionals aged 22-30. Some are more attracted to being a big fish in a smaller pond. The development of Wales in many industries seems alluring to them. Other factors, such as England’s government run by Boris Johnson, are seen as a drawback for those interested in making a career there and prefer the management of the Welsh government.

The Conwy Estuary in Wales

The Conwy Estuary in Wales © Vecteezy

Wales has a peaceful and calming environment. The pace of life is slower and there’s less emphasis on productivity and professionalism, which allows young people to enjoy their environment more than they might when living in more bustling areas.

It’s also possible that those young people who have moved away may one day return to Wales, bringing their work experience, skills and economic contributions with them. However, rising costs continue to push centennials into hardships, causing them to look for better opportunities in economies other than their own. 

So what’s the solution to the brain drain in Wales? Many local governments are providing job finding programs to increase the incentive to stay. Councils are also creating higher standards of living, such as improving and expanding hospitality, retail and community facilities, which might help mitigate the pull factors of other countries and motivate professionals to stay in Wales.

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