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?
- Watch keynote addresses from the 2014 Symposium on Small Towns
- Continuing the Trend: The Brain Gain of the Newcomers (PDF)
- Rural Migration: The Brain Gain of the Newcomers (PDF)
- The Glass Half Full: A New View of Rural Minnesota (PDF)
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
Researching the trend
- Economic Impact of New Residents report
- Regional Recruitment: Strategies to Attract and Retain Newcomers (PDF)
- New Residents Survey Summary of Results (PDF)
- Resident recruiting in northwestern Minnesota
Brain gain in the news
- Rural Communities: Changing, not dying
- Minnesotans are moving back to small towns
- Small towns must change to find new life, vitality
- What Trump's election reveals about Minnesota's rural economy
- It's time for a new narrative about Greater Minnesota
Profile stories from the Pipestone County Star brain gain series.
Resources for communities
Learn more about this research
Ben Winchester, Research Fellow
Extension Center for Community Vitality
Contact information for journalists