For four decades now, there has been no consensus on the number of Salvadorans living outside of El Salvador, despite El Salvador’s census bureau identifying it in 2008 as the most important factor in determining true population growth in the country. Amidst a time of increasing migrant child and family arrivals from El Salvador to the United States in the 2010s, meaning the country had among the highest rates of emigration in the world, I wanted to speak with children themselves about why they were leaving, and in so doing, speak to the policy and practice needed at different places and times according to the geography, gender and causes children provided. From January to September 2014, Karla Castillo and I conducted just short of 600 interviews with 232 girls, 417 boys and their adult relatives who were deported from Mexico, over 90 percent of whom wanted to reach the United States. In El Salvador, children and their families lived in at least 411 neighborhoods of 155 municipalities in all 14 departments of the country. From each department, we interviewed between 15 and 34 percent of the children who migrated in 2014. For this dissertation, I analyzed the combined results for five departments – Ahuachapán, Chalatenango, Cuscatlán, Morazán and Sonsonate – on two of children’s explicit reasons for migrating (poverty and health) and reasons that children and adolescents did not explicitly give that nonetheless seemed to play a role in their decisions – or would have entitled them to legal status, if they reached the United States. Beyond the interviews conducted with children and families, I sought different sources regarding reasons to migrate, in order to validate the data collected, which are presented alongside the interview data. This includes Salvadoran and US census bureau data, in addition to historical documents on the civil war when poor communities organized to demand that their rights be respected. They wanted their own land to farm, healthcare and education for themselves and their children, a dignified life and so much more. They disproportionately fought in the war and lost their lives or became displaced. Yet, they were least served by the war, and in many ways today find themselves in similar or worse situations than in the pre-war and war periods today. Silber (2011) argues that for this reason, having seen that war did not serve their revolutionary goals, migration has become the home of revolutionary imagination and hope for the poor, who disproportionately constituted the children we interviewed. From there, I inspect the contours of poverty in their lives to unpack them in light of the Capabilities Approach. I explore how their hopes to get out of poverty had even more to do with the desire to be able to become, if not fully themselves, at least more of themselves than El Salvador’s lowest class structure permits. This study is the first of its kind in several ways: it interviewed a representative sample of Salvadoran child migrants, crossed those interviews with quantitative and qualitative data sets and provides geographic and gendered insights to both children’s and families’ migration. As such, the proposed project is critical to better research on migration worldwide and creating holistic and informed policy and practice for child, adult and family migrants at local, national, regional and global levels.