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Helping Minnesota's rural communities attract new residents

community member collage

We live in a mobile society. People move frequently, and many are looking for a rural community like yours to call home. Is your town ready to explore its potential to attract residents? If so, Extension is ready to help.

Find a community economics educator in your area to get started.

Program overview

The Making it Home program uses a series of local events and discussions to create a community-wide vision for attracting new residents. The program is based on a successful model called "Marketing Hometown America" created by Extension services in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

The community-driven process sparks positive thinking about what your area offers newcomers and mobilizes community members to create an action plan for attracting them. Whether your community is already working to attract residents or just wants to get started, Making it Home can help.

Community success stories

Rural areas in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska piloted the Marketing Hometown America program with much success.

Watch video: Community promo

Episode 2: Make It Litchfield

Communities have the power to tell their own story. Litchfield, Minnesota is creating a narrative that is optimistic and focused on the future.

Listen: Litchfield's story

Episode 7: Make It Litchfield Update

Hear more from Litchfield leaders about what happened after their community Action Forum.

Listen: Updates from Litchfield

"We wanted to take a look at how do we really market our community and get the word out there that we have a lot to offer; that we want to compete, and that we want to be out there to toot our horn."
—David Krueger, Executive Director, Meeker County Development Corporation

Bring the program to your community

Extension educators and local leaders work together for six to nine months to bring Making it Home to rural communities. The program uses community events, study circles, educational materials and action forums to help the community set a course that welcomes newcomers and supports current residents.

Making it home helps communities:

  • Look at their community through newcomers' eyes
  • Discover, or rediscover, overlooked assets that can attract new residents
  • Create positive conversations that lead to effective community marketing
  • Create a quality of life that is attractive to both newcomers and current residents
  • Nurture a welcoming spirit
  • Implement an action plan for the future

Get started

Join our network of communities making rural Minnesota home. Contact a community economics educator in your region to start the process.

Rural demographic trends in Minnesota

Producer: Lakeland Public Television

Shifting age demographics

Research shows small towns and rural areas have experienced a brain gain of newcomers age 30 to 49 and their young children.

Watch video: Brain Gain

Factory workers  

Attracting more immigrants

To grow its economy, Minnesota will need to attract and integrate more international immigrants to its workforce.

Read article: Report Shows Immigrants are Key to Minnesota's Economy

Map of Minnesota population growth by coounty  

Changing population sizes

Use this interactive map to explore Minnesota counties and view their annual and projected growth rates. Data from Esri based on 2010 Census.

Explore map: Minnesota population growth by county

Become part of our work in Minnesota

Neil LinscheidInterested in learning more about Making it Home or sharing work from your community? We like to hear what interests you about our research or steps you are taking to welcome others. Submit our online form to provide us with your details.

For more information, contact Neil Linscheid.

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