Want millennials to move to your rural community? Get broadband

The Daily Yonder posts an article from Roberto Gallardo, Robert Bell and Norman Jacknis that takes a deep dive into demographic growth reports to find that millennials are willing to move to rural areas with broadband…

To conclude, if you just look at overall numbers, our population seems to be behaving just like they did in the industrial age – moving to cities where jobs and people are concentrated.  Rural areas that lag in broadband connectivity and digital literacy will continue to suffer from these old trends. 

However, the digital age is young. Its full effects are still to be felt. Remember it took several decades for electricity or the automobile to revolutionize society. Besides, areas outside metro areas lag in broadband connectivity and digital literacy, limiting their potential to leverage the technology to affect their quality of life, potentially reversing migration trends. 

Whether or not decentralization will take place remains to be seen. What is clear though is that (while other factors are having an impact, as well) any community attempting to retain or attract millennials need to address their digital divide, both in terms of broadband access and adoption/use.  

In other words, our data analysis suggests that if a rural area has widely available and adopted broadband, it can start to successfully attract or retain millennials. 

This entry was posted in Research, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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