Finding ‘Reasons to Stay’ Amidst Issues of Well-Being: A Case Study of Two Underserved Communities in Colombo

  • Iresha M. Lakshman Department of Sociology, University of Colombo
  • Mohideen M. Alikhan Department of Geography, University of Peradeniya
  • Abdhullah Azam Centre for Migration Research and Development
Keywords: Migration, low-income settlements, well-being, Sri Lanka


This paper attempts to explore the factors that attract and encourage individuals to live in low-income neighbourhoods in Colombo in spite of the many socioeconomic issues that are associated with such communities. Data was collected through 30 face-to-face in-depth interviews with residents from two underserved communities consisting of individuals with different migration experiences. The collected data was then analysed using the three-dimensional well-being model introduced by Pouw and McGregor (2014). The study revealed a situation of material and relational wellbeing intersecting to create a more practical kind of well-being in the communities studied. Of the two, material well-being had the strongest power to attract and retain residents in the neighbourhoods while relational wellbeing played a supportive role in terms of pulling people into the community. Subjective well-being, on the other hand, was identified as the strongest reason with a capacity to push people away from the community. However, this single push factor was not strong enough to overpower the pull effect of material and relational well-being, particularly because of the residents’ low-income status. The material benefits of living in the location facilitated by social ties offered by the neighbourhood kept these residents attracted and attached to these underserved communities.


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How to Cite
Lakshman, I. M., Alikhan, M. M., & Azam, A. (2020). Finding ‘Reasons to Stay’ Amidst Issues of Well-Being: A Case Study of Two Underserved Communities in Colombo. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 16(35), 94.
ESJ Humanities