Friday, October 31, 2008

Economic pressures can strengthen community and family connections, writer opines

Rural Americans may worry about what the current economic crisis will mean for their communities, but Joel Kotkin of says there is one upside to the uncertainty: "Forced into belt-tightening, Americans are likely to strengthen our family and community ties and to center our lives more closely on the places where we live," whether in rural or metropolitan areas.

Kotkin notes the rise of younger adults who are relying on older generations for financial and lifestyle help: living with parents, relying on family members for child care, or getting help with loans. He says all of these trends help shape the way the community is viewed: "The longer people stay in their homes and communities, the more they identify with and care for those places."

The trend, which Kotkin calls "the new localism," is also strengthened by rising gas prices, which are encouraging travel closer to home and a greater emphasis on locally grown produce, and better technology, which allows for higher rates of telecommuting and the ability to set up businesses away from urban centers. (Read more)

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