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Research shows good news about rural communities

Radio Transcript from Minnesota Farm Network, On the Farm radio show with Tom Rothman

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(9/13/2011) —This is Bev Durgan on the Farm. Too many people read the top line of the US Census data showing rural Minnesota losing population and make judgments about the vitality of rural communities.

Fortunately, Dick Senese, Associate Dean of the University of Minnesota Extension's Center for Community Vitality, dug deeper into the numbers and found three points worth remembering:

  • Almost all of Minnesota's 67 rural counties experienced a gain in residents aged 30 to 44 from 1990 to 2000, and even more saw an increase in children aged 10 to 14. More than half of these newcomers had not lived in the area previously. The rest are "coming home." Analysis of 2010 census data shows these trends continuing.
  • In one five-county area of the state, almost one-fourth of these newcomers operate businesses, adding nearly $4 million to the economy. Other studies show that two thirds of these newcomers have college degrees.
  • Manufacturing is the largest employer in Minnesota and agriculture is the second largest. Most Minnesotans think agriculture is rural and manufacturing is urban. The numbers show that rural Minnesota is home to close to half of Minnesota's manufacturing. Both agriculture and manufacturing in rural Minnesota impacts the economy of the entire state.
There is good news about people moving their lives and families to rural communities and the vitality and health of these communities. University of Minnesota Extension is committed to providing the research-based information that rural communities need to succeed.

This is Bev Durgan on the Minnesota Farm Network

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