By: Andrew Husa (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and Cheryl E. Morse (University of Vermont)
What is the main purpose of your study?
Drawing on results from an online survey of the mobility of people who grew up in Nebraska, this paper asserts that those stayers who have had some rural living experience, defined as living in communities of under 2,500 people, express stronger place-based attachments than others.
What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study?
Our study will benefit individuals and groups who are concerned about the vitality of rural communities, as mobility research sheds light on the reasons why people choose to stay in or leave small towns.
How does your study relate to other work on the subject?
Our study supports other research that demonstrates strong place attachment among residents of rural communities. It also supports research on immobility and the reasons why a person may choose to remain in a place.
What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?
Those who grow up in America’s rural areas may develop a different set of values and social and place-based attachments than their urban peers.
Key components of attachment to rural areas include connection to family, a desire to raise children there, and an appreciation for the culture and hospitality.
What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?
The theoretical implications of this study is that those who grow up in America’s rural areas may develop a different set of values and social and place-based attachments than urban residents, and that rural values and social and place-based attachments are generally stronger than their urban counterparts.
How does your research help us think about Geography?
Rural America, especially the rural Great Plains, is generally imagined as an empty place, when in reality it is full of rich social interactions. Despite waves of outmigration, several people have made the decision to stay in their hometowns, or in another rural community.
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