Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Most people return to rural areas because of parents, opportunities to raise children, study finds

People most often return to rural areas because their parents live there and they want to raise their children in the same place they were raised, says a study by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "Factors Affecting Former Residents' Returning to Rural Areas."

Other factors for returning home are friends and family, familiar environments, increased opportunities for outdoor recreation, shorter drives to and from work and more chances for children to participate in school sports.

Those who did not return to rural areas cited low wages and a lack of career opportunities. They also said rural areas have a lack of privacy and a lack of cultural events, shopping and dining. They also had a less favorable view of the local schools than respondents who returned to rural areas.

The study consisted of 309 interviews of an average of 15 people at high school reunions in 21 rural communities in 2008 and 2009. Of the 309 people interviewed, 183—or 60 percent—said they lived elsewhere, usually in urban areas. Most moved away after high school, but some returned home before moving away again.

People who stayed in rural areas were asked "if they had ever considered moving away and what factors influenced the decision to stay. Returnees were asked to discuss reasons for moving away in the first place and reasons for returning. They were also prompted to describe the impact they had made on their home communities after returning, for instance, by starting businesses and hiring employees, assuming leadership positions or volunteering. Nonreturnees were asked, 'Have you thought about moving back? Why or why not?' For all migrant types, questions were included about marital status, presence of children, parental ties, educational pathways and current occupations." (USDA map)

1 comment:

Pam Horwitz said...

After living in Chicago for 18 years, I moved home to north central Illinois for many of the reasons listed in this article. I opened a business, hired employees, frequently involved in not for profit work and volunteer - guess I'm not so special! Glad to be home. Pam Horwitz