Rural Areas Offer Guides To Newcomers

Sarah Skidmore, AP, May 24, 2007

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Across the country, rural areas have seen a steady influx of urban dwellers in the past decade, some of whom are suffering a bit of Green Acres-esque shock.

The rural response? Show ‘em how it’s done.

A growing number of areas are handing out rural living handbooks to help guide the newcomers, often retirees in a new phase of life.

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An estimated 150,000 people move from metro areas to non-metro areas annually, according to the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The trend peaked in the 1990s with early retirees, but researchers say the movement has continued and that numbers may surge again as the next wave of baby boomers retire.

John Cromartie, population specialist with the Economic Research Service, said the trend is most marked in rural areas that are still accessible to large cities.

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In southern Oregon’s Jackson County, the local Soil and Water Conservation District introduced a guide after seeing a significant jump in growth, primarily from retirees.

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