A recently released study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign revealed rural communities in the Midwest are more prosperous than the nation as whole when it comes to unemployment, housing conditions, poverty and high school drop out rates. These findings echo the intensive work of two sociologists who were intrigued by the exodus of young people from small towns. Patrick Carr and Maria Kefalas spent two years living in the small town of Ellis, Iowa. Their book Hollowing out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America
lays out the premise that many adults in small towns like Ellis systemically choose which young people they will put in position to leave for higher education and have lives beyond their rural roots. Carr says there's a reason why they chose Ellis to represent the rural brain drain.