Highly educated young people seeking a quality life consider to abandon big cities, return to the countryside and get involved in the rural sector even if at the price of a decreased income. One to one-and-a-half million young Greeks plan to return to the countryside, according to a survey conducted by the Kapa Research for the Ministry of Rural Development. In the survey conducted in Athens and Thessaloniki, 68.2% of the respondents said that they have considered leaving the city, while 19.3% have already initiated such moves.
“Almost half of those willing to go away from the cities declare that they want to get involved in agriculture, animal breading and fishing, 18.3% in tourism-culture, 14.2% in communication and new technologies, 11.8% in education, 7% in commerce, 6.7% in eco-tourism, 5.8% in restaurant sector.2/3 of those wanting to start a new life in the countryside have higher education. 25.4% Have a post graduate degree, 43% have a university or technical college degree. 17.1% are graduates from professional colleges, 8.2% from high school, 1.2% are Gymnasium graduates.As far as the ages groups: 10.6% are 25-29 years old, 21.2% are 30-34, 25.3% a43 35-39 and 12.9% are 40-44 years old. The most productive age groups.70% of the respondents said that they’re willing to abandon the cities for a more “substantial and qualitative life style.”With almost one out of two Greek youth being without a job, the countryside is a good alternative and thus promoted by the Ministry of Rural Development. It rents at a price of 5 euro per acre to young farmers. So far 2,176 plots are available for rent, 3,596 requests have been submitted. The requests have been submitted by 1,200 jobless, 1,123 by aspiring farmers older than 35 years old and 585 by holders of a agriculture or similar education degrees.”
Taking into consideration the urbanization of the last decades Athens and Thessaloniki have a lot of residents of rural origin. For them it would be easier to return home. The rest of the young jobless may consider the idea, even though they have zero experience in farming or animal breeding.
I asked the jobless daughter of a friend, if she would consider moving to the countryside. The young woman, 27, answered without hesitation “What shall I do there? I have not the slightest idea about farming, my family has not any village connections. We own no agricultural plots, the capital needed to start such a business would be huge.”
Another friend at his late 30’s considers indeed to go back to the village of his father, should he or his wife become unemployed. They have a child of 7 years old, they rent a flat in Athens. “Adjustment would be difficult, but at least the living standard won’t be so expensive as in Athens. At least we have the possibility there to grow our own vegetables,” he said confident that the family would get also a job to pay bills and the child’s education.