skip to main content

Sunday, June 4, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

A Wisconsin group criticizes two of its members of Congress, a new report says the Phoenix area cannot meet its groundwater demands, and Nevada's sporting community sends its priorities to the governor.

play newscast audioPlay

The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

play newscast audioPlay

Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

Aging Iowa: How to Help Communities Shrink Smart

play audio
Play

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

Almost all departments in Connecticut schools saw shortages in 2022, following a long-standing national trend. A 2022 American Federation of Teachers report found before the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 300,000 teachers were leaving the profession each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

As the school year ends, Connecticut's teacher shortage seems to have only worsened. In March, school districts across the state reported having 2,60…


Social Issues

play sound

A Muslim rights group is taking the Kent County Sheriff's Office to court for forcing a Michigan woman to remove her hijab for a booking photo…

Social Issues

play sound

A rally was held in Salem Thursday to urge passage of a bill to provide food assistance to Oregonians regardless of their immigration status…


Pennsylvanians must register to vote by Oct. 23 to be eligible to vote in the general election on Nov. 7. (Vesperstock/AdobeStock)

Social Issues

play sound

The Keystone State's general election is less than six months away and a nonpartisan, grassroots organization is already getting the word out to …

Social Issues

play sound

This week's debt ceiling deal saw federal policymakers compromise on budget-related matters, but a new awareness campaign from a Wisconsin grassroots …

A 2019 report from the New York State Comptroller's Office found almost 85% of green jobs were in increased demand. A 2022 report found there are 35,700 workers in New Jersey's green economy. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Offshore wind in New York and New Jersey is becoming a large contributor to job growth. New York's offshore wind investments are slated to create …

Social Issues

play sound

Hoosiers could play a pivotal role in pushing back against a surge of hate and violence against Jews in America. Nearly two-thirds of all …

Environment

play sound

The Nevada hunting and fishing community is sharing its top 10 conservation priorities for 2023 with Gov. Joe Lombardo's office, as they seek to …

 

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