Hollowing Out the Middle

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recent articles and books have celebrated the migration of highly productive and creative workers to key cities. Sociologists Patrick J. Carr describes what happens to the towns that they desert, and to the people who are left behind. In Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America, written with Maria J. Kefalas, they describe what they learned by moving to a small Iowa town whose young people are leaving in droves.


Patrick J. Carr

Comments [4]

Tiffany from Garrison,NY

My husband and I both grew up in Wyoming, which is completely rural by definition. I was a leaver, feeling extremely restricted by small town life. We don't intend to settle back in Wyoming simply because we can't find jobs that utilize the degrees and skills we've gained. We now live in New York because of my husband's work.

Nov. 24 2009 04:31 PM
Laurie from Upper West Side

I am a leaver. Every year I thought I would go back until I turned 36 years old and realized that I had lived as many years away from the farm as on the farm. Now that I am turning 50 and retirement is on the horizon, I find myself thinking again about going back. Every year I take my four children to visit my parents on the farm so that my children can better understand me. I am always trying to integrate the two experiences in my life--living on a Kansas farm and in New York City. I feel like an immigrant in my own country.

Nov. 24 2009 01:47 PM
Erin Carter from NYC

I am from rural Iowa, originally, and my husband was raised in suburban Des Moines. Although the landscape and the people draw us back to Iowa (particularly as we approach our child-rearing years), our professional subspecialties and career interests would be limited. Following university, we lived in Minneapolis together, but moved to NYC for graduate school and are completely hooked. We count ourselves fortunate to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds (NYC vs. rural Iowa).
Looking forward to reading the book!

Nov. 24 2009 01:45 PM
hjs from 11211

"The Buffalo Commons is a conceptual proposal to create a vast nature preserve by returning 139,000 square miles (360,000 km2) of the drier portion of the Great Plains to native prairie, and by reintroducing the buffalo, or American Bison, that once grazed the shortgrass prairie. The proposal would affect ten Western U.S. states."

Nov. 24 2009 01:36 PM

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