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OT/MISC Millennials are coming to America's small towns
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  1. #1

    Millennials are coming to America's small towns

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/millenn...ns-11570832560

    On a Saturday afternoon in late September, I observed my 6-year-old son repeatedly doing two things we’ve always told him not to do: run into the street and pick up candy off the ground. We were watching the annual tractor parade roll down Main Street here, inhaling the festive atmosphere along with a fair amount of diesel fumes. The parade features more than 100 steam- and gas-engine tractors (most of them with riders tossing candy) and is the highlight of Smithsburg’s annual Steam Engine and Craft Show.

    In this town of about 3,000, the weekend of the fair is a big deal. It draws visitors from all around Maryland’s Washington and Frederick counties. This was only the second year we’ve gone to the parade. Last year we barely knew anyone. This year we ran into more than a half-dozen people we knew through school or youth sports. Some were simply friends we’ve made in the community. One of them invited us to watch the parade on her front porch. As we left that evening for the five-minute drive home through mostly farmland and woods, I smiled and thought, “This is why we moved here.”

    For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. census figures have shown that thousands of millennials and younger Gen Xers are leaving big cities. Since 2014 an average of about 30,000 residents between 25 and 39 have left big cities annually. My husband and I left Washington, D.C., for the suburbs more than a decade ago because of affordability issues. Now I believe we’re in the next new trend of workers with mobile jobs: moving to a small town to improve our quality of life.

    According to a survey by the freelance marketplace Upwork Inc., people who freelance or have jobs they can take with them are more likely to move out of urban job centers to places that cater to their lifestyles. It’s one of the reasons places like Boise, Idaho, and Charlotte, N.C., are seeing faster population growth than most big cities. When we packed up and headed for farm country 70 miles outside Washington, my husband and I took our son, cat and jobs with us.

    Raising a small child in a major metro area can be grueling. Paying for child care is like taking out a second mortgage. Weekend activities often require far more planning than they’re worth. Any parent knows that leaving the house with an obstinate toddler requires reserves of emotional strength. Add the near-certainty of hitting traffic, struggling to find parking, and waiting in long lines, and each trip requires a stockpile of fortitude.


    When it came time to leave the city, our priorities were simple: We wanted to live in a town with good schools and in a house on a lot 3 acres or larger. My husband and I were both able to work from home four days a week, so we cast a wide net around the Washington area.

    That’s how we ended up here. We now live in a house that could swallow our old house whole, with acreage to spread out and start long-talked-about projects. We’ve acquired pigs, chickens and, most recently, a puppy. We live next door to a winery with owners our age and whose property we can stroll to on paths cut through fields. Our other neighbors have a herd of goats from which we have a 5-gallon bucket of frozen milk. My fall project is to learn how to make goat-milk soap.

    The seasons actually change here. The mountainsides are awash in fall colors. In the winter, the snow creates a quiet, white blanket over the land and stays around to be enjoyed instead of melting into dirty sidewalk slush. In the spring and summer, the fields come to life again and we marvel at how fast the corn grows. Once people get here, the speed and intensity of city life loses its hold over them.

    Of course, we’ve had to make adjustments. Washington County is a conservative and rural part of Maryland, so we’ve traded cultural diversity for economic diversity. Eighty percent of the population (including us) is non-Hispanic white. Nearly 14% live in poverty, a rate almost twice that of our old suburb.

    There have been lifestyle trade-offs, too. Eating at a good restaurant now requires a 30-minute drive. But going apple picking is something we do at an orchard on the way home from school. I miss being able to walk to our neighborhood playground or the nearby yogurt shop. But I love ambling around our property here, or driving to the local creamery and watching my son play with school friends on its playground.

    Perhaps most important, we have psychological as well as physical space. I don’t wonder if I’ll find a parking spot at the grocery store or movie theater. I don’t reflexively check for traffic unless I’m getting on a highway. While playing in our backyard, I don’t feel hemmed in by trees and roof lines. I look up and feel the wide expanse of the open sky.


    Before we moved, it had been years since I’d been to a parade. In crowded cities, they’re a pain. Who wants to deal with the hassle of parking and the crush of people trying to leave when it’s over? As children in pre-tech-boom Mountain View, Calif., my sister and I walked from our house to the main drag to watch the small parades the city would host. We often marched in the annual Halloween costume parade. In my memory, parades are simple and fun—a reason for a community to get together.

    Living here, I’ve found that again.

    When the Net first appeared and you could work away from the Big City, I expected a renaissance of small towns, that being the best place to raise a family. Well, didn't happen and for a reason; there is nothing there for support services. My home town once had three doctors, two dentists, an oculist and an undertaker. It now has only the undertaker (growth industry?) The nearest doc and dentist is 26 miles away.

    The school has been consolidated with three others and still has less than 60 per class, 20% Latino. And should your kid be anywhere off the center of the Bell Curve, he is out of luck.

    But then Millennials have few or no kids so that may not be a problem.
    "The misfortune of many is the consolation of fools" Ancient proverb

  2. #2
    I'mBefore we moved, it had been years since I’d been to a parade. In crowded cities, they’re a pain. Who wants to deal with the hassle of parking and the crush of people trying to leave when it’s over? As children in pre-tech-boom Mountain View, Calif., my sister and I walked from our house to the main drag to watch the small parades the city would host. We often marched in the annual Halloween costume parade. In my memory, parades are simple and fun—a reason for a community to get together.

    Living here, I’ve found that again.



    My community has seen untold growth from Millennials in the past decade, and they do have kids, the school district is currently building two new schools and have purchased land for another. My reason for telling my sons forget farming here and go somewhere else, they chose to get real jobs.

    What Millennials don't bring:

    A sense of community, as the lifelong residents age they don't take their place...

    Our Parade is really bad compared to a decade ago, Millennials don't join the civic organizations that made it possible. We used to have an all volunteer Fire/EMS, it's now majority full time and soon there won't be volunteers because Millennials don't volunteer, they have no sense of community, the few volunteers are ageing and no one is stepping up to replace them. As long as they get what they want they don't care. I could go on and on but won't, it's not worth it, I assume everyone can understand what I'm typing about. As for apple picking it's just that, none get a bag or bushel, they just pick them while walking paths.
    Time changes everything
    Last edited by Cacheman; 10-12-2019 at 07:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    17,230
    Quote Originally Posted by Troke View Post

    [B]When the Net first appeared and you could work away from the Big City, I expected a renaissance of small towns, that being the best place to raise a family. Well, didn't happen and for a reason; there is nothing there for support services. My home town once had three doctors, two dentists, an oculist and an undertaker. It now has only the undertaker (growth industry?) The nearest doc and dentist is 26 miles away.
    As a late-Gen-Xer / early millennial, I can tell you that the problem is that true remote work is starting to fade out. It was good for a while, but then places like Yahoo and IBM started insisting that their serfs remain in easy viewing range. Why? The reasons were as numerous as they were completely full of male bovine fecal matter, and occasionally equine excrement as well. "We do our best when we're together!" or "We need to be able to freely exchange ideas!" came up a lot. Like there weren't readily-available online tools for just such a purpose.

    More likely, it's "We're tired of our employees being so gosh-darn happy."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    17,230
    Quote Originally Posted by Troke View Post
    The school has been consolidated with three others and still has less than 60 per class, 20% Latino. And should your kid be anywhere off the center of the Bell Curve, he is out of luck.
    This is also an excellent point. Public schools, in my experience 20 years ago, do a great job with large numbers of thoroughly average kids. The farther you get off center in either direction, the worse the outcome. Sure, they can work with it to some extent. A slightly slower kid can get tutoring or be left back a year, while a slightly faster kid can get bumped up a grade. But you get the truly gifted or the truly at-risk, public schools are out of tools.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    4,860
    From the article:
    It’s one of the reasons places like Boise, Idaho, and Charlotte, N.C., are seeing faster population growth than most big cities.
    Charlotte isn't a big city? It's pushing 900,000 people in the city itself and is 2+ million when you pull in the whole metro area. Not exactly what I think of when they say "small town".

  6. #6
    They're not coming to my town, the internet is too slow.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    2,626
    Here's a guy that moved from D.C. to rural Minnesota, a Washington Post reporter no less. I'm just worried about how they vote.



    Washington Post reporter called NW Minn. county the worst — then it saved him

    Let's take a moment to remember how Chris Ingraham ended up in the tiny northern Minnesota town of Red Lake Falls.

    He wrote a story for the Washington Post in 2015, ranking every county in America by scenery and climate. He used data from the United States Department of Agriculture.

    Hills were good. Lakes were good. Frigid winters were bad.

    Based on these measures, Red Lake County — which has no lakes, precious few hills and winters that reach 40-below — was rated the worst place to live in America. This was the USDA’s conclusion, backed by science. Ingraham just wrote about it, very sparingly.

    “I’m a data reporter,” Ingraham said. “My ideal story is like one or two charts and maybe one sentence that says, ‘Check this out. This is cool.’”

    That didn’t stop Minnesotans from taking the story personally.

    There was a Twitter outcry. Politicians got involved. The townsfolk of Red Lake Falls invited Ingraham for a visit, to show him just how wrong he’d been. Ingraham went, and liked it so well he uprooted his family and moved there.

    More at link: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/0...n-it-saved-him
    Was known as dairyfarmer but sold the cows.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MountainBiker View Post
    From the article: Charlotte isn't a big city? It's pushing 900,000 people in the city itself and is 2+ million when you pull in the whole metro area. Not exactly what I think of when they say "small town".
    True, but "affordable" tracts of land/farmland is relatively near to the city center - particularly if one moves across the nearby state line, and down into South Carolina.


    intothegoodnight
    "Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

    — Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    745
    Quote Originally Posted by KFhunter View Post
    They're not coming to my town, the internet is too slow.

    Good one !!!

  10. #10
    And thus spreads the infection.
    Thoughts are things. Thus I'm careful of the thoughts I think, & the company I keep.
    She couldn't keep her colors inside the lines, so she drew new lines.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Cacheman View Post


    My community has seen untold growth from Millennials in the past decade, and they do have kids, the school district is currently building two new schools and have purchased land for another. My reason for telling my sons forget farming here and go somewhere else, they chose to get real jobs.

    What Millennials don't bring:

    A sense of community, as the lifelong residents age they don't take their place...

    Our Parade is really bad compared to a decade ago, Millennials don't join the civic organizations that made it possible. We used to have an all volunteer Fire/EMS, it's now majority full time and soon there won't be volunteers because Millennials don't volunteer, they have no sense of community, the few volunteers are ageing and no one is stepping up to replace them. As long as they get what they want they don't care. I could go on and on but won't, it's not worth it, I assume everyone can understand what I'm typing about. As for apple picking it's just that, none get a bag or bushel, they just pick them while walking paths.
    Time changes everything
    Had to go into the heart of my small city yesterday to go to my Dad's grave. The millennial transplants are everywhere now. The city was packed with them going to the farmers market. Which is really just expensive food stands, boutique or craft food products (expensive), and artwork. They don't wait to cross streets, they just go without looking thinking the cars going to stop or in reality, the car people need to wait for us walkers.

    At my Dad's grave, there was a young person sitting on a scooter drinking an energy drink texting away on his phone, he couldn't be bothered to say anything when I pulled up, got out and said Hi. Maybe he was visiting a grave down there, don't know. Next was the walkers and dog walkers. There's a huge multi unit mixed housing development that went up on property next door that a particular senators wife helped bankrupt, a college was located on the property that she was president of. Well now it's home to scores of millennials and they use the cemetery as a walking park it appears.

    Millennial neighbors, one guy had his buds over yesterday morning, I go outside to leave, they all look at the feet or phones and don't say a word when I come out. Not that I want to be their friends or buds, it's just messed up, they don't speak or socialize with anyone outside their bubble. Just 'Hey, hi.'

    Even the ones I go to church with aren't much better. The colleges, universities, and public school really turned out a bunch of drones. They've got tech skill and mobility, but not a lot else.

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