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Back to the Future


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In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend of Americans returning to rural areas. This shift has been spurred by a combination of factors, including the rise of remote work and the availability of high-speed internet in smaller cities and towns. Here's why many Americans are opting for small town life over the hustle and bustle of big cities.

One of the primary drivers of the move to rural areas is the rise of remote work. As more and more jobs can be done from anywhere with an internet connection, many Americans are realizing that they don't need to live in big cities to have a successful career. This has opened up new opportunities for people who want to live in more affordable areas with a lower cost of living.

According to a recent survey by Upwork, more than a third of the American workforce is now working remotely. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years, with estimates suggesting that up to 30% of the workforce will be fully remote by 2025. This means that more and more people will have the freedom to choose where they live, and many are choosing to move to rural areas.

Another factor driving the move to rural areas is the availability of high-speed internet in smaller cities and towns. As internet infrastructure has improved, it has become easier and more affordable to live and work in areas that were previously underserved. This has opened up new opportunities for people who want to live in more affordable areas while still enjoying the benefits of high-speed internet access.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in accelerating the trend of people moving away from large urban areas. In 2020, for example, an estimated 89,000 people moved out of New York City, while Los Angeles lost an estimated 70,000 residents. Many of these people were likely drawn to more affordable areas with lower costs of living.

One of the benefits of small town life is the lower cost of living. Housing costs, in particular, can be much more affordable in rural areas than in big cities. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price in a small town is $177,000, compared to $344,000 in a metropolitan area. This means that people who move to rural areas can often enjoy a higher standard of living for less money.

Bob Waun, a real estate broker with DIRT Realty, notes that rural areas offer many opportunities for people looking for affordable housing and land. "Small towns are a great option for people who want to live a more affordable lifestyle without sacrificing the amenities of modern living," he says.

As more and more people opt for rural life, it will be interesting to see how these trends continue to evolve in the coming years. The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture both offer statistics on population migration patterns, which can help shed light on how these trends are likely to play out in the future.

In conclusion, the rise of remote work and the availability of high-speed internet in rural areas have made small town life more attractive than ever before. With lower costs of living, more affordable housing, and a slower pace of life, it's no wonder that so many Americans are choosing to move to rural areas. As Bob Waun notes, "There's never been a better time to consider making the move to a small town."

Here are some websites for government statistics on population migration patterns:

  • U.S. Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: https://www.usda.gov/

  • USDA Economic Research Service: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/rural-urban-continuum-codes/

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