Technology and Robust Economies Drive Rural Town Revival

Population loss has been a fact of life for many of the United States' rural towns for decades. But if the experiences of rural towns across Minnesota are any indication, manufacturing, farming, and technology may generate a widespread rural revival.
December 3, 2013, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"All across Minnesota, cities and towns like Osakis, once assumed to be riding a slow train to nowhere, are proving surprisingly robust," reports David Peterson. "Recoveries in agriculture and rural manufacturing are combining with rapidly spreading high-speed wireless access and other factors to yield numbers that few predicted."

“It is surprising a lot of people just how much life remains in towns once declared dead — or heading that way,” said University of Minnesota demographer Will Craig.

"Studying trends in retail, Craig and a colleague uncovered what they called 'astounding' growth in consumer sales in regional centers such as Mankato and Brainerd, and 'remarkable' increases in economic activity in many smaller communities — stiff reproofs to the 'myth of rural decline and ghost towns.'”

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Published on Sunday, November 24, 2013 in Star Tribune
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