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Brain gain in rural Minnesota

High school graduates might leave rural areas for college and jobs in the big city, but more are coming back with college degrees, careers, professional contacts, and young families. Still others with these credentials are moving to rural communities for the first time.

Extension's demographic research, publications, and perspectives on this brain gain can help community leaders consider what this means for their rural area. A 2010 census data report (PDF) shows that this trend is continuing.

What is the trend?

Newcomers mean 'brain gain' for rural Minnesota

People often lament a brain drain in rural Minnesota — the loss of 18–25-year-olds who leave their small home towns after high school. But there is also an in-migration to these towns of 30–49-year-old adults and their young children. In many cases, those moving into rural communities offset, or surpass, the numbers of those moving away. This, says Extension research fellow Ben Winchester, is a brain gain. This is hopeful news for rural Minnesota. But the trend must be sustained. Read more about newcomers

Resources for communities

Learn more about this research

Ben Winchester, Research Fellow
Extension Center for Community Vitality
phone: 320-589-5033
email: benw@umn.edu

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