This study sets out to investigate anticipatory views concerning out-migration amongst rural youth. Utilising three age-group samples from rural Norway, Scotland and Sweden, young people were classified as prospective 'stayers', 'leavers' or 'returners'. Both qualitative and quantitative data show that 'stayers' see themselves as most contented with rurality. 'Leavers' are most negative to rural living. 'Returners', though also critical about rural living, are highly positive towards social relations in their communities. Furthermore, national and gender differences are evident. These varying adolescent constructions of rurality are discussed in relation to possible national policies.