Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Does North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's criminal-justice reform go far enough? Plus, Congress is running out of time to prevent a shutdown and default, and Oregon tackles climate change.


The nation's murder rate is up, the Senate votes on raising the debt limit, the DEA warns about fake prescription painkillers, a new version of DACA could be on the way, and John Hinckley, Jr. could go free next year.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Aging Iowa: How to Help Communities Shrink Smart


Thursday, February 1, 2018   

DES MOINES, Iowa – A study to determine why some small towns in Iowa wither and others thrive is under way at Iowa State University.

For more than 30 years, most small Midwest communities have experienced shrinking populations, an exodus of younger people, job losses and fewer community services.

David Peters, an associate professor of sociology at ISU, is part of the Shrink Smart study. He says like the rest of the country, Iowa's population has gotten grayer and small towns have fewer children.

"What happens is local businesses, day care centers, other activities related to children, don't have enough kids to support those businesses economically,” he explains. “Then, new families coming in tend to not want to move to those communities because they don't have those amenities."

In 2015, Iowa reported the nation's 14th largest share of residents 65 and older.

When small towns have fewer children, they stop investing in services for children, which Peters says makes sense but also becomes self-fulfilling when it comes to creating childless communities.

"A lot of communities are invested heavily in senior care and senior housing services and not necessarily in child services,” he points out. “So when you begin that investment, that's the kind of new residents you're going to attract and that's the kind of residents you're going to retain are more of the senior citizens, not the younger citizens."

According to Peters the five or six small towns bucking the trend in Iowa are mainly dominated by younger, Latino families that have moved there for jobs in the agricultural or food processing industries.

He has studied rural Iowa through his Iowa Small Town Poll and knows some young families would prefer a small community but can't make it work.

"And they might want to live in a smaller town, but if there's not adequate day care, if there's not recreational and sports programs for their kids, they're probably going to locate to a larger town or a city," he explains.

The ISU team studying the Shrink Smart concept will host focus groups later this year to hear directly from Iowans.

get more stories like this via email

Public schools need to minimize arrests at schools by using emergency mental-health teams instead of police officers to address behavioral incidents at school, according to a Sentencing Project report. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

ARLINGTON, Va. -- As a Northern Virginia school system transitions away from using police officers in schools, a new report suggests COVID stimulus …

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- In five weeks, voters in many Iowa cities will cast their ballots for local elections, and the Secretary of State's office is …

Social Issues

AURORA, Colo. -- School districts across Colorado had to get creative to ensure families could access critical meals during pandemic-related closures…

Companies behind a proposed natural-gas plant for Wisconsin hope to break ground by 2025. (Adobe Stock)


SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Legal proceedings continue involving a proposed natural-gas plant for northwestern Wisconsin. The plans have been approved by state …


PORTLAND, Ore. -- Draft rules are out for a program designed to confront climate change in Oregon, but organizations say it does not go far enough to …

West Virginia families have struggled to find and keep work, pay rent and bills, and care for kids and older relatives, and anti-poverty advocates say the pandemic has made things worse. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers are slated to vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday…

Health and Wellness

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A veterinary drug doctors call unsafe for treating COVID-19 has caused the deaths of two people in New Mexico, according to the …

Social Issues

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed sweeping criminal-justice reform into law this month that is meant to hold police more …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021