Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Remote workers could permanently transform rural America

City dwellers moved to rural areas in droves during the pandemic, since remote-work policies let them do their jobs anywhere with a decent internet connection. A story from rural New Hampshire explores how new residents could transform the region if they stick around after the pandemic.

It hasn't been all positive, Sarah Gibson reports for New Hampshire Public Radio. One new resident said it's difficult being biracial and Black in a small town, and told Gibson he hears racist comments every day. Many new residents complain of slow internet. The surge has driven up local real estate costs. And some schools in New Hampshire (and elsewhere) have struggled to cope with the influx of new students.

But new residents could bring needed revenue to the community, plus something else, said University of New Hampshire demographer Kenneth Johnson: "The volunteer fire department, the PTA, all the groups affiliated with churches or civic organizations . . . all need that energy and enthusiasm of new people."

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