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Research Components

  1. Household surveys of new residents
  2. Labor vacancy surveys
  3. Consumer focus groups
    • Face to face
    • Online

Synthesis Process:

  • Combined data from Household Surveys and Labor Vacancy Surveys.
  • Identified key themes in community.

Groton, SD Example

The high points of the household survey resulted in finding out Groton's marketing advantages.

  • Population - 1,356
  • Within 20 miles of Aberdeen
  • Strong family ties to community



  • Opportunity to be closer to relatives
  • An environment for raising children
  • Quality school system
  • Quality time with family/simpler pace of life
  • Less congestion

Characteristics of New Residents

  1. Average age ranged from 43 to 54
  2. Most had lived in their current state before
  3. Especially in Underwood (91%) and Groton (95%).
  4. Majority have never lived in the community or county before
  5. Average age was younger
  6. More moved with children
  7. More had previously in lived in county; however, not in community.

Employment brought many to region.

  1. Most new residents are employed.
  2. Majority have college degrees
  3. Nearly 50% in all communities earn more than $50,000

Key issues firms had:

  1. Difficulty filling critical healthcare support openings with workers having good personal characteristics.
  2. Difficulty filling professional and managerial openings with qualified and skilled workers.
  3. Newly hired professionals and managerial workers tend to leave after only one year.
  4. Production, transport, and trades workers tend to view the community or region unfavorably.

Groton's Potential Strategies to Address the Issues:

  • Affordable Housing.
  • Make residents feel welcomed. Start-up Welcoming Program.
  • Marketing - good pictures, enhance Internet marketing, characterize regionally - school district region for housing, recreation, employment, etc.
  • Provide entrepreneurship support.
  • Café (communicate need and/or community investment options)