Going Up the Country

According to the Economic Research Service (part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), some parts of rural America will be getting a steady influx of baby boomers in the coming decades. 

Appears we are taking the timely (if you can call the 40th anniversary of Woodstock timely) advice of Canned Heat and we are going up the country.



The report, titled “Baby Boom Migration and Its Impact on Rural America” indicates that as you might expect, baby boomers are going to seek out the rural areas with the greatest number of amenities. This trend is going to favor “counties with specific attributes—employment opportunities, scenic amenities, reasonable real estate prices, proximity to large cities, among others.” The net migration to the 500 rural counties with the most scenic amenities will increase from 520,000 in the 1990s to 720,000 in the 2010s.

This so called “rural rebound” has already begun, as many boomers have pulled up stakes in cities and suburbs in favor of a quieter, more laid-back atmosphere that can be found in some of greener color counties on the map below.gravestones

Studies show that after people reach their mid-fifties, they tend to migrate toward lower density locations. Some empty-nest couples move closer to urban centers for the cultural amenities while others seek out the recreational opportunities, lower cost of living and a slower pace of life in the countryside.

It wasn’t that long ago (try the early 70s) that an earlier rural renaissance was happening, and lots of boomers joined communes, read Mother Earth like it was the bible, and began growing their own food. My guess is that this time around they are going to want the quiet life of the country but with a lot more of the creature comforts they had in the city or suburbs.

Exactly what impact all this rural migration will have on some smaller communities is hard to predict, but I think it’s safe to say there will be a greater variety of coffee drinks at the general store, not to mention Wi-Fi.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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