Nationwide population growth for rural communities remains a challenge. The census pointed out that over the past decade, the nation has grown at its slowest rate since the 1930s.
Less than half of the country’s 3,143 counties or equivalents grew in population from 2010 to 2020, while the populations of about four-fifths of metropolitan areas increased over the period.
Between 2010 and 2020, the population of metropolitan areas in the United States grew by 9%, and the country’s 10 largest cities all grew in the past decade.
Despite these statistics, at the end of 2020, a Gallup survey reported that about half of Americans (48%) said that if they could live where they want, they would choose a city (17%) or a rural area. (31%) rather than a city or suburb. This is a change from 2018, when 39% thought a city or rural area would be ideal.
We can be optimistic about where we live based on key quality of life factors more commonly encountered in rural areas:
The vast exterior
Residents of big cities know that the sounds and lights of the city never stop. In contrast, rural life offers the possibility of unprecedented access to nature and outdoor recreation for every season. City Parks and Trails, Camden Regional Trail, Camden State Park, ADM / SMSU Environmental Learning Area, Marshall Golf Club, are some of those outdoor spaces that add to the quality of our place of life with many ways to stay active and involved.
A good place to raise children
Marshall ranks in the top 3 in MN compared to other cities for family life, education, health and safety.
Small towns are ideal for the community where most people know each other. People in rural areas depend on each other and get to know each other. Small towns favor tight-knit communities.
Local businesses find more support and less competition in small rural communities, and they do not suffer as much from brand competition.
Cost of life
Marshall’s affordability for rental and homeownership ranks among the best in Minnesota due to the lower cost of housing. Additionally, a recent report from the Center for Rural Policy and Development found that wages in rural Minnesota may go further to cover the cost of living compared to the seven-county metro area.
Shorter travel times
The commute to and from work may be the best part of the day, or the worst. And a lot of that has to do with where you live. Marshall’s one-way commute time is 11.5 minutes and ranks near the top of Minnesota for the shortest commute.
People of color make up a larger share of the population in all counties in the state, in part because of births and migration, but also because of the decline of the non-Hispanic white population. The non-white population of the City of Marshall grew from 17% to 27% during the period 2010-2020. Increased diversity improves our workforce, increases education enrollments, contributes to economic development and when you interact, socialize and work with people. from different experiences, you can hear and learn from people.
Remote worker friendly
Finally, the main reasons above make Marshall an attractive place to work remotely. Since you can live anywhere, why not live somewhere affordable. And since remote working can become somewhat isolating over time, you’ll need to be in an area where you can easily connect with people.
Marshall recently learned of the 2020 census results and with great dismay the results showed a small decrease in our city’s population. Mayor Bob Byrnes quickly and correctly noted that the census was taken at a time when the population was on the move due to COVID-19 closures, he said.
Having fewer students on the Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) campus in April could have influenced the city’s census results, he added. Upon further analysis of the new housing data and SMSU residential data, it is clear that the 2020 census is not accurate for Marshall’s current population.
Marshall continues to be a regional hub, the county seat of Lyon, located 160 miles southwest of Minneapolis and St. Paul and 90 miles northeast of Sioux Falls. Marshall’s service area stretches 40 to 50 miles in all directions.
Affordable real estate. A great place to live, work and raise a family. Large open spaces. It’s Marshall.
– Sharon Hanson is the municipal administrator for the Town of Marshall