Cornhusker Economics

Examining Preferences for Rural Living and How to Save the Rural Economy

Recent articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post discuss preferences for rural living and if rural economies can be saved. Data from the Nebraska Rural Poll and other state surveys are used to further explore these topics.

Residential Preferences

The Washington Post piece by Christopher Ingraham examined recent Gallup Poll data that showed many Americans would like to live in a rural area. If so many people would like to live in rural areas, why is population in nonmetropolitan areas declining? Preferences and reality don’t match for many Americans. While 27 percent of Americans would prefer to live in a rural area if they could live anywhere they wish, only 15 percent currently live in such a place. Ingraham and Gallup’s Frank Newport state that job concentration in metro areas is preventing the movement to rural areas.

Ingraham goes on to present arguments for living in rural areas. Many positives are found in rural life, such as higher levels of happiness and well-being, better natural environments, safe neighborhoods, and affordable cost of living.

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2019 Cornhusker Economics

  • Examining Preferences for Rural Living and How to Save the Rural Economy By Becky Vogt (January 9)
  • 2018 Cornhusker Economics

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