What makes Small Towns Successful?

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recent study by a rural sociologist at Iowa State University examined the driving forces behind small town success.  Although it may come as a surprise to some, the findings showed that high quality of life in smaller communities is most attributed to social capital and civic measures. These findings are right in line with the 2015 Nebraska Civic Health Index, showing that social connectedness and community involvement lead to higher resident retention and attachment to the community.

“This study shows participation in a community and whether the community provides social supports, those intangibles are more important. These types of initiatives do not cost a lot of money. The degree to which people participate in the town and feel safe, supported, and trusted in the community is something a town can do to better itself,” said the study’s author, David Peters.

A similar study by the UNL Agricultural Economics department and the Rural Futures Institute, called the UNL Rural Poll, is set to release data later this summer.  Stay tuned for more information on small town success in Nebraska– and in the meantime, start thinking about the community projects that could increase social capital in your town.

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