Small towns can sell their lifestyle, not just their jobs

For years, ambitious young people moved away from the small towns and rural areas in which they had grown up, seeking a better future in the big city.

Several factors fueled this migration: the increasing mechanization of farm work, meaning fewer workers were needed, small-town businesses ended or needed less labor, and simply fewer people who wanted to stay in a rural area to farm or operate. a small town business. . As more and more young people moved to the big cities, many small towns faded into a few businesses and perhaps a church.

But in recent decades, according to Gallup and Pew polls, roughly half of all Americans say their ideal place to live is a small town or rural area. Those between the ages of 30 and 49 (millennials and some Gen Xers) with children have increased the populations of rural communities, as described in an article titled “Rural Rebound” by Rachel Hutton in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune of the June 19, 2022.

Promoting relocation to small towns and rural communities has long been a project of the state of Minnesota, even before the pandemic made it more appealing and the rise of remote work made it more possible.

Otter Tail County in Northwest Minnesota has taken this mission to a new level, hiring a Rural Rebound Coordinator with the goal of making this part of the state as well-known and attractive as the North Shore or Southeast Minnesota. Minnesota.

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