Non-engagement of mid-aged and elderly residents in rural civic initiatives

Hiska Ubels (First author), Bettina Bock, Tialda Haartsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In the context of public budget cuts and rural areas facing depopulation and aging, local governments increasingly encourage citizen engagement in addressing local livability issues. This paper examines the non-engagement of mid-aged and elderly residents (45+ years old) in civic initiatives that intend to improve the livability of their community. We focus on residents of depopulating rural areas in the North Netherlands. We compare their engagement with the behavior of residents in other, not depopulating, rural areas, and urban areas. Using logistic statistical analyses, we found that the majority of the aging residents did not engage in civic livability initiatives during the past two years, and one-third of this group had no intention to do so in the future. In all areas, the main reasons for non-engagement were that residents had other priorities, felt not capable of engaging, or felt that the responsibility for local livability belonged to the local government. Furthermore, it appeared that non-engagement was predominantly explained by the unwillingness to engage, rather than by specific motivations or lacking abilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-756
JournalRural sociology
Volume85
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • non engagement
  • midaged elderly residents
  • liveability initiatives
  • rural depopulation

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