As the decline of rural counties and once thriving small cities accelerated, there was high media hopes and “expert” expectations that the new world order of the internet and telework would bring young families and small companies back to the romance of small town living. But today small towns in the central US are locked in a tailspin of unemployment, poverty and family breakdown that has long plagued inner cities.

This downward spiral will continue until towns find new economic models to sustain themselves as tourist destinations, specialized education centers or other place-based value propositions.

And as cities become overpopulated and too expensive, for new families, rural areas within striking distance of airports, major cities and surrounded by natural beauty will again become appealing.

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