Selected SLC Research

Webinar | June 18, 2015

Rural Development through Education

Mikko Lindberg

Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that, between April 2010 and July 2012, nonmetropolitan counties, as a whole, experienced a decrease in total population for the first time. What this statistic does not detail, however, is the long-term trend of youth emigration from these rural areas and what impact these population shifts have on the vitality of rural communities. In fact, rural communities in the South continue to face serious challenges in getting highly educated students to return home after college graduation.

Research indicates that education may be a cause and effect for this rural “brain drain” phenomenon, and also the key to reversing the trend. Studies have shown that efforts to improve rural education contribute to rapid economic development in those areas, while a more educated community can serve as a catalyst for business expansion and increased civic engagement. This webinar highlighted the impact of education on rural development and examine initiatives in rural communities to entice educated former residents to return and invest in their hometowns.


Alexander Marré, Research Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
Brad Mitchell, Managing Director, Battelle for Kids Invest, Ohio
Drew Jacobs, Director, Data & Research, State Collaborative on Reforming Education, Tennessee
Nancy Dishner, Ed.D, President and CEO, Niswonger Foundation, Tennessee

Archived Webinar | Power Point Slides