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Thread summary:

Rural America: college, traffic, cost of living, downtown, find a job, market.

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Old 11-07-2007, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
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One thing thats a fact of life is that younger people are leaving rural America en masse. I live in a rural area and don't want to spend another day here I don't have to. Rural areas tend to be heavily geared towards older people. In Ft. Smith, AR, if you leave my college campus, you aren't likely to see many people under age 50 with the exception of those still in school. In my hometown of about 1,000 approx 45 minutes from Ft. Smith, its rare to see people under 65. Most small towns today (at least in the South) are comprised of either older people or people still in high school or college. Most people leave after high school but the few who stick around (like me) make plans of leaving after college. My question is, in say 30-40 years, do you think rural America will simply die off with the older generation?
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs,CO
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I don't think rural America will just die out,there is always going to be people who want to live in less populated areas,but I do think the percentage of people living in rural areas will get smaller.People will still move to the rural areas,and the rural population will probably grow,but the urban population will outpace it,and that would make the percentage of people living in rural areas decrease.
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Suburban St. Louis
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That's a tough question, really.

I, too, as you know, grew up in a rural area in Illinois. As soon as I got the chance (3 months ago), I moved to St. Louis.

However, I left behind SEVERAL friends/young family members who would rather die than move to a city or even a suburban area. I had a cousin who is in her mid-twenties who asked me last weekend "How do you like St. Louis?" and I said "We like it." and she responded "Really?"

A lot of rural people were raised with a rural mindset; you can get anywhere in town in 3 minutes; no traffic. You can drive 3 minutes to any of the local fast food joints or the county diner, and you can get out to the field to hunt or to the lake to fish in 20 minutes or less. You are leaving that when you move to the city (trust me, I didn't mind; it was worth it). However, fact is, while several people with college educations who don't have many job options in rural America, several blue-collar young adults have no plan or desire to leave that area.

So while rural America may remain depressed (as far as jobs, economy), I don't see it dying off any time soon.
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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No, even though you don't like living in a rural area (and really Ft Smith isn't rural, it's a city albeit a small one with a fair portion of people aged 20-50), there are many people who are looking for rural areas to live. Even as the older generations die, younger people move in. As oil becomes more expensive and the world turns to alternative fuels, you may even see land values rising. The landscape may change, but hopefully population growth will never become so problematic that America will lose her rural locales.
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Old 11-07-2007, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC at the Ridge View Post
No, even though you don't like living in a rural area (and really Ft Smith isn't rural, it's a city albeit a small one with a fair portion of people aged 20-50), there are many people who are looking for rural areas to live. Even as the older generations die, younger people move in. As oil becomes more expensive and the world turns to alternative fuels, you may even see land values rising. The landscape may change, but hopefully population growth will never become so problematic that America will lose her rural locales.
As oil becomes more expensive, it will make less sense to live in rural areas and commute. I commute 45 minutes to Ft. Smith for work and college, and that is becoming almost as expensive as rent for a cheap apartment in town. With Wal-Mart destroying rural economies, I think we are headed to a time where people won't live in rural areas unless their job requires it (i.e. agriculture).

Last edited by bchris02; 11-07-2007 at 01:20 PM..
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Old 11-09-2007, 04:03 PM
 
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I realize that there are alot of Wal-Mart haters out there, but frankly I don't think Wal-Mart destroys rural economies at all. It may drive some small business owners out of business because they can't compete pricewise, but the community gets to enjoy those lower prices and they get a much broader selection of goods. The communities also tend to get more profits in sales tax as the Wal-Marts attract a wider customer base and that sales tax money can be used to improve the community's infrastructure. I'm by no means saying Wal-Mart to the rescue, but the old-fashioned downtown that many people mourn was my no means universal and cars, good roads, cheap gas, and suburban developments all took their toll on those downtowns. I think you are mistaken about people not wanting to live in rural areas, because urban areas have plenty of problems that people want to escape. Computers and the internet are allowing more and more people freedom from conventional workplaces, and alot of those people are looking for inexpensive properties that allow them some land and privacy and a lifestyle they couldn't afford in the city.
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Old 11-09-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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Rural America will never die out. Its population will continue to be replenished, even after the current "older generation" is gone. How do I know this?

I look in the mirror!

Coming from rural America myself, once I finished school I could hardly wait to leave. Bright lights, fast cars, fancy restaurants, upscale bars, cool parties, hot babes, entertainment galore...BIG CITY!...that was all I cared about.

Then an astonishing thing happened. Once I got to metro America, reality set in. And the longer I've lived here, the more "real" it gets. Real traffic jams, real noise, real congestion, real crime, real stress, real filth, real rudeness, real anonymity (nobody knows you, nor cares), really staggering bills, really obscene high taxes...yeah, this whole urban thing is for real, alright. It really sucks!!

At one time, I might've vaguely thought about going back home "someday"—when I retire, maybe as an elderly person, etc. But heck...now I'm mid-30s, and I already miss home like crazy!

I miss simplicity, fresh air, friendly people, patriotism, traditional values, a slower pace, seeing my neighbors at church, etc. And if I ever have kids...rural America is the ONLY place I'd ever want to raise 'em!

So yeah...for all your young neighbors that are leaving for Metropolis, USA, there will always be a certain number just like me, who'll eventually be back!
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Old 11-09-2007, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
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I don't think Rural America will die off. For example, in Utah, most of the small towns consist of people under 65. Here, when people turn 18, some go to college in Salt Lake and come back or never come back or stay there and not go to college.
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:20 PM
 
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
2,318 posts, read 4,300,926 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
One thing thats a fact of life is that younger people are leaving rural America en masse. I live in a rural area and don't want to spend another day here I don't have to. Rural areas tend to be heavily geared towards older people. In Ft. Smith, AR, if you leave my college campus, you aren't likely to see many people under age 50 with the exception of those still in school. In my hometown of about 1,000 approx 45 minutes from Ft. Smith, its rare to see people under 65. Most small towns today (at least in the South) are comprised of either older people or people still in high school or college. Most people leave after high school but the few who stick around (like me) make plans of leaving after college. My question is, in say 30-40 years, do you think rural America will simply die off with the older generation?
I don't think rural America will die off at all. Urbanization has historically been tied to development, and specifically, the rise of cities has historically been tied to the rise/diversity of industries, production, and consumerism. In the U.S. in the past 60 years or so, the connection between urbanism/suburbanism and consumerism has been extremely strong, and similar trends are evident all around the developed and developing worlds.

The problem, though, is that the level of consumerism in highly urbanized places is ultimately unsustainable. Hundreds of millions of people all around the world, including the U.S., are using up resources faster than they can be replenished. Unless we come up with new ways to procure or substitute water, paper, scarce ores, oil, and other resources, we will at some point price ourselves out of the market for these things, and eventually we may even run out or find ourselves with very limited yet constant supplies.

The resources needed to run a city or a suburb--and the lifestyles of their inhabitants--are enormous, and we may find that cities and suburbs eventually become too costly for many people to afford. I wouldn't be surprised, then, if such a crisis inspires or forces people to step back a hundred years, take possession of some land, and try to live simply on few resources.

I know it's hard to imagine life and the U.S. as being different from what it is today in terms of urban and demographic trends, but I suspect that unless some major changes or discoveries are made, what we're experiencing now--the "bright lights-big city" phenomenon--will have to subside and give way to a much less wasteful (and perhaps pre-industrial, for some) way of life. The city can still be a player in this scenario, though water issues and transportation of food may pose challenges. But I think the big winner will be rural America (and rural India, and rural China, etc.). How many more billions of people can the earth support? And if an increasing number of people want to live like Americans do, how long can resources last to that end?
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Maine
7,728 posts, read 11,138,552 times
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'Nature-Deficit Disorder'

Kids don't seem to go outside anymore. Just look at the games that are popular in Web searches: video games, Pokémon, Game Boy. Where are tag, king-of-the-hill and hide-and-seek?

One group blames our kids' nature deficit on electronics combined with parents' fear of what lurks beyond the front door — even though the rate of stranger abductions hasn't increased.

Leave No Child Inside wants to see kids climb trees, build forts, take nature walks. While the physical benefits of getting outside are obvious, others are subtler. Outdoor time has been shown to:

Increase cognitive functioning;

Facilitate cooperation;

Reduce stress.
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