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View Poll Results: What is the most important issue facing the rural Great Plains
Massive farm/ranch consolidation resulting in fewer jobs. 0 0%
Rapid population decline in rural counties. 6 27.27%
A very elderly society with few younger people in remote rural counties. 1 4.55%
The brain drain of younger people with ideas to larger metro areas. 15 68.18%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-05-2007, 02:52 PM
 
Location: IN
22,231 posts, read 38,786,499 times
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What do you think are the main issues facing the Great Plains today:

A)Large rural consolidation
B)Rapid Population Decline
C)Very elderly society
D)The brain drain of younger people and ideas.

What do you think?
Vote in the poll.
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Old 10-05-2007, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Chemnitz, Germany previous in AZ, CA, AL, NJ,
3,397 posts, read 8,541,988 times
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All of the choices are valid. I know lots of people here in southern CA from ND, SD, IA, KS, NE. However, the northern great plains seem to be getting a bit of growth going on from new oil and gas exploration. Northwest part of ND in particular, lots of things going on there, energy biz is expanding out from MT and WY.
Many small towns in the great plains that are not along an interstate highway or main RR line, are not a county seat, and are more than 40 miles from a medium sized city or other place where decent jobs can be found are certainly in a struggle mode. Those are the ones that "all of the above" start to show up.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:49 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Yea, I was about to say the same thing as recycled. All are good reasons for things being the way they are.
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Old 10-06-2007, 12:13 AM
 
Location: IN
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ajf, If you want to see some of the evidence of rural ghost towns and rural decline I would suggest a trip on highway 36 in northern Kansas. Nearly all of those counties are relatively isolated, and are very far from interstate highways. The scenery is decent, especially along the eastern stretch of highway 36 in Kansas. The people are friendly and have old-fashioned views on many issues. This is partly because the area has such little in-migration from other areas. Some counties have lost 10-15% of their population in the last 6 years according to the census bureau.
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Old 10-06-2007, 12:23 AM
 
2,506 posts, read 7,989,569 times
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These towns have to reinvent themselves. Young people aren't attracted to farm life with the occasional trip to town to sit in a corner bar. Even towns need amenities, a cafe, bookstore, theater, et. cetera. Realize that most people who live in the suburbs of large cities would happily live in a small town if it was comfortable, had good schools and amenities, et. cetera. I think that the neo-environmental movement has the power to save the Prairie. The potential of switchgrass ethanol is immense, and it would bring in much needed money and resources. Those county seat towns have amazing potental, and they would bring up the rural area around them if treated correctly. I think another problem is the Bubba image that alot of places have, alot of people just don't like it. These areas have tons of petential, but they need the money and political power to shape their area, and alot of those places just don't have the will or way. The country is moving on, rural areas need to catch on. If people can get to an international airport quickly, if there are amenities like those seen in larger cities, if there are non-farming jobs and new opportunities, these places will be great again. That is my rambling two cents.
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Old 10-06-2007, 12:34 AM
 
Location: IN
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This is a good reference to look at for county information in the Great Plains. I will post the links for the central and northern plains states. You can click on individual counties in those states for additional information.
North Dakota QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
South Dakota QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
Nebraska QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
Kansas QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
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Old 10-06-2007, 01:46 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
3,742 posts, read 7,381,857 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plains10 View Post
ajf, If you want to see some of the evidence of rural ghost towns and rural decline I would suggest a trip on highway 36 in northern Kansas. Nearly all of those counties are relatively isolated, and are very far from interstate highways. The scenery is decent, especially along the eastern stretch of highway 36 in Kansas. The people are friendly and have old-fashioned views on many issues. This is partly because the area has such little in-migration from other areas. Some counties have lost 10-15% of their population in the last 6 years according to the census bureau.
Thanks for the tip...I'll check it out when I've got the time...right now though it doesn't look like i'll be able to do it anytime soon. I've kinda been halfway from the route....I've paralleled it about 100 miles north on I-80 in Nebraska, and about 100 miles south on I-70 in Kansas...I'm guessing though that given U.S. 36 is a U.S. Highway and probably not a very popular route anymore these days except for locals that there are ghost towns there.
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Old 10-09-2007, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Ne
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Simple fact, populations follow jobs. Outside of Lincoln/Omaha and KC/Topeka/Wichita....jobs are few and far between. There is no incentive for young professionals to live there. Also, many young people find the rural way of life very unattractive.
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