A few weeks ago, we recapped Nebraska’s 2015 Rural Futures Conference here on the blog. It seems as if these days, there’s articles and posts and speeches everywhere denoting why rural communities are so important to Nebraska’s economic growth.
At the conference, Governor Pete Ricketts said that our strong agricultural industry is a cultural factor in this enormous importance: “Agriculture is our largest industry. We grow things and we make things. That’s what we do,” said Ricketts.
The North Platte Bulletin explains that in the speech, Ricketts emphasized that Nebraskans are ideally situated to take advantage of trends towards higher standards of living.
One of the ways to do this is to develop the manufacturing workforce: “Manufacturing allows us to create jobs all across our state, not just in Lincoln and Omaha. Great Nebraska companies are creating jobs in our small towns and rural communities.”
It’s true: we’ve profiled dozens of outstanding manufacturers on the blog that are located in rural areas of Nebraska, and are making a difference in the world in exciting ways. For those who are interested in a manufacturing career, it’s worth expanding your search and exploring positions available in rural areas. Traditionally, job seekers head to urban areas, meaning that competition for positions in Lincoln and Omaha will, by nature, be steeper than competition in Beatrice or Columbus.
Nebraska’s prevalence of agriculture and manufacturing equips small towns to be able to provide a higher standard of living than in many rural communities across the country. If you’re considering looking for a job in a rural area, here are a few of the benefits of packing up and moving out of the big city, rather than in.
1: Space and Cost of Living: There’s no doubt that there are many, many benefits to living in urban areas, but the fact remains that housing costs are generally lower in rural areas. The housing market means that homeowners can own larger homes for lower costs, and receive the added benefit of being close to nature, having yards, and breathing in (generally) cleaner air.
Marquette, Kansas, touting the benefits of rural life, notes that you can “watch the sun set over land, not buildings” and “hear crickets at night, see the stars shine brightly in the sky, and watch children chasing fireflies.” Romanticized? Maybe a little, but there’s certainly a grain of truth.
2: Less Stress: It may not be universal, but rural communities generally deal less with traffic jams, high crime rates, and long lines that make you grit your teeth and want to pull your hair out. Quality of life is wholly improved with less stress in it.
3: Sense of Community: In a study done on rural Canadian towns, researchers found that “the heart of rural and remote living is found in the sense of community that people have. Communities are friendly and everyone knows you. People have a rich history of coming together and supporting each other.”
Rural life certainly provides opportunities to be alone when you want to be, but a smaller population to draw on means a heavier reliance on your neighbors, friends, and family.
It’s complex. Deciding whether or not you’re more comfortable living in a rural or urban area is a very personal choice. However, there is opportunity outside of the big cities, and potentially a higher standard of living to go along with it. Are there any other pros or cons of living in a rural community that we missed? Leave a comment in the section below, anytime!