Rural Communities Experiencing Brain Gain

Research suggests a “brain gain” is occurring in rural communities.

| September/October 2013

Rural Communities

Study shows young people returning to rural communities.

Photo By Fotolia/pressmaster

Ben Winchester, a researcher at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, recently made headlines for a new report challenging the claim that rural communities at large are experiencing not only a loss in population, but a collective phenomenon dubbed a “brain drain,” as younger members relocate to pursue educational and career opportunities.

According to Winchester, this conventional wisdom is based on a misreading of the demographic data, which he interprets as suggesting quite a different trend — there is a statistically significant number of young professionals returning to rural communities to raise families and to pursue an overall better quality of life. Rather than a “brain drain,” Winchester asserts, these numbers are much more suggestive of a “brain gain.” To read more about Winchester’s study, check out Brain Gain in Rural Minnesota.

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