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Old 10-05-2009, 10:26 PM
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Location: Ohio
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Originally Posted by CityPerson09 View Post
Wow that depopulation in West Texas running up to North Dakota and Montana is crazy
There's lots of oil there. Oil prices went way up and way down in those 8 years.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:51 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnehahapolitan View Post
If you want to talk about something interesting, ask about why inner suburbs are still losing population to the City and to distant suburbs.
In Raleigh, the opposite is happening. The inner burbs built from the 50s to the 70s are becoming the hot real estate as being closer to the city center is seen a plus, not a negative. In fact, an entire midtown mentality is taking over that swath and pushing prices higher. But, then again, it's hard to find anywhere in or around Raleigh that isn't growing.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:52 PM
 
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A lot of those rural counties in Nebraska and the Dakotas had very few people to begin with. Sometimes in the very low thousands or even the high hundreds. It doesn't take many move-outs to send the numbers into a tailspin.

The character of agriculture changed. It used to take the infrastructure provided by a small town to support an area's farms. Farmers were local; they needed a place to buy machinery, bring their produce, attend livestock auctions, and so on.

A huge corporate agribusiness setup is more self-contained. You don't need dozens of people scattered around the countryside in small farmhouses. You can have machinery trucked in by interstate and highway and access road from hundreds of miles away. You don't need to buy provisions at the town's general store, or send your kids to the local schoolhouse.

As a result, those places slowly evaporate. They age. Services exit.

If you want to see this effect in action, take Highway 26 from where it exits Interstate 25 (west of Denver, in eastern Colorado) and then turn north on Highway 385 at Bridgeport, Nebraska. Head north until you reach the town of Alliance, then head east on Highway 2. Continue bearing east on Highway 91, until you hit Interstate 29 in Iowa.

Over the course of hundreds of miles, passing through only a handful of very small towns, you will get a good sense of the isolation that exists out there. And if you stop and talk with some of the local storeowners or old-timers, they'll tell you all about how things have changed.

I once had a five-hour conversation and tasty dinner with an elderly gentleman and his wife in the vanishing town of Arthur, Nebraska (along Highway 61, a bit more than 30 miles south of Highway 2). Arthur used to have a few hundred people; it currently has around 100, or a few more. It is the county seat of Arthur County. Arthur County is about 1/2 the size of Rhode Island, and it has about 400 people.

If you are a younger person... what is there for you? What can you do there?

Well, you move to Omaha...
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:12 AM
 
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I thought it was interesting to see population losses in the central and northern parts of the Federally defined Appalachian Region but not in most of the southern counties ("southern" means south of the Bristols in this case). Can the OP add that as an outline to see?
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:30 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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Could anything else be done to make the Plains less of a declining place? If you put a bunch of windfarms and "prairie preserves" would that do anyone any good? Anything else?
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:20 AM
 
Location: IN
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Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
Could anything else be done to make the Plains less of a declining place? If you put a bunch of windfarms and "prairie preserves" would that do anyone any good? Anything else?
I think the extreme isolation, a lack of social opportunities, and limited job opportunities are the big negatives overall. Sure, the addition of a few large-scale wind farms will definitely benefit the employment picture for some who wish to remain in the small town. The trickle down benefits of added income for the landowner are also a probably benefit for the community. However, after the initial construction phase of the wind farms, relatively few people are needed to maintain the turbines from what I understand.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:20 PM
 
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Some rural counties have tried land giveaways - they give away parcels of county-held land for free to homesteaders, in a bid to attract more residents.

However, these programs usually attract older retirees looking for a quieter life. It doesn't solve the fundamental demographic problem of aging and loss of youth.

Demographically, Americans have been concentrating themselves around metro areas and urbanizing since the end of the frontier era, and especially since the 1920's and the advent of cars and widespread electrification.

There will probably always be a small corps of people who prefer the remoteness of the deep plains, but that baseline hasn't been reached yet. Population will probably decline until the baseline is met.

Most potential economic uses of that land are not dependent on population density. Wind and solar operations can be managed remotely, for the most part, with on-site technicians transported as needed. High-intensity large-scale farming follows the same model.

A rural community within an hour's drive of a larger city might be fine, but some of the towns on the plains are six hours or more from any large cities - and much of that is over smaller rural highways that are prone to closure during snowstorms or icy conditions in the winter.
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Old 10-06-2009, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Orlando
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Cool...the place I want to retire is two shades of blue.

Time to buy now!
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:45 PM
 
Location: IN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Granny Sue View Post
Cool...the place I want to retire is two shades of blue.

Time to buy now!
Make sure that dark blue county has healthcare amenities.
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Old 10-07-2009, 04:54 PM
 
Location: St Paul, MN - NJ's Gold Coast
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Middle America looks as if it should practically be empty.
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