Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 11:21 UK

Highlanders 'feel they must go'

Young mother
Studies suggest many people return to the region when they start a family

Many young people in the Highlands and Islands feel they must leave the region to pursue their ambitions, an online survey has found.

The project aimed to uncover what makes 15 to 30-year-olds want to stay or leave the area.

About 3,500 people took part in the survey organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

It suggested that the majority felt a deep sense of pride in the region, but believed opportunities were limited.

HIE's regional competitiveness director Alex Paterson said it was the first in-depth examination of the "push and pull factors" affecting the ambitions of young people.

He said: "Demographic studies show a high number of people return here when they are proposing to have a family of their own or later in life but we have, in proportion to the Scottish average, 25% fewer people aged 15 to 30.

"We wanted to get a detailed picture of attitudes to share with partners to help shape the region to be attractive to every age group, particularly one so vital to economic growth."

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