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Old 06-17-2008, 12:02 AM
 
Location: Tennessee/Michigan
28,220 posts, read 47,646,554 times
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GAINESVILLE, Ala. This speck-on-the-map town, once Alabama's third largest, is home to fewer than 400 hardy souls. It has four tiny churches: Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Episcopalian.

Through the years, so many people have left that members of different churches worship together so they can keep the congregations going.

Southern towns shrink, economic troubles grow - USATODAY.com
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:07 AM
 
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As southern cities continue to grow, I'd imagine that population will trickle-down into the small towns as well.
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radraja View Post
As southern cities continue to grow, I'd imagine that population will trickle-down into the small towns as well.
I wouldn't bet on it. People move south for the economies created by large urban areas. They can get a good job, and a cheap house and live in a warm climate. Few people move south to experience the culture or to say they live in the south, especially in poor rural regions. The people that the south has moving into it don't care if it is the south, southwest, California or anywhere else with some of those aforementioned characteristics.
Once a town passes a certain level of "disintegration" it is pretty much gone. I personally mark this point as when the local school closes. This has been seen all over rural America.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:50 PM
 
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My theory, though, is that many of the small towns will be swallowed into suburbs.
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Jersey City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radraja View Post
My theory, though, is that many of the small towns will be swallowed into suburbs.
If they're close to a major metro, then yes. But in the heart of rural America (away from metropolitan areas) that is not likely to happen. These areas will likely continue to decline, as "the family farm" isn't a viable livelihood anymore. As others have said, it's not a phenomenon that's unique to the South.
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Near L.A.
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The only small towns that are strong in Kentucky are the ones within 25 minutes of the three major metro areas--Louisville, Lexington, Northern Kentucky. In addition, London, Corbin, Owensboro, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Vine Grove, Murray, and Danville are all holding their own. The rest, well, they're dying off very slowly, especially the towns in east Kentucky.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:56 AM
 
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A bit of hack journalism if you ask me. I live in Alabama and have ties to economic development. While the writer focuses on a few Alabama counties that are suffering, he fails to note that most rural Alabama counties have actually enjoyed better economic prospects over the past two decades. The Black Belt counties have suffered from a whole range of ills from bad government to overdependence on agrarian economies to the exodus of able-bodied people. Yet the true problem with this area is a lack of vision.

On the other hand, if you go to the southern or northern swatch of rural counties in Alabama, you'll see a good bit of diversification, communities beginning to reemerge. Overall, household income and per capita income has risen quite a bit elsewhere in the state, including other rural counties.

So, in other words, the writer of the article made the fundamental mistake of taking the particular and applying it to the general.
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