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Study shows young men increasingly outnumber young women in rural Great Plains
Date:5/15/2014

Lincoln, Neb., May 15, 2014 -- In many rural communities hard hit by decades of population declines, young men increasingly outnumber young women, a new study of Kansas and Nebraska census data shows.

In places with 800 or fewer residents, the proportion of young men increased by an average of nearly 40 percent as people went from their teens to their 20s.

Those findings suggest leaders should consider the needs of young women in their economic and community development plans, said Robert Shepard, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln doctoral candidate who conducted the peer-reviewed research. His study results were published in April's Great Plains Research journal.

"The whole point of this study was to look at it quantitatively, to see if the numbers bear out this story of younger people leaving and not coming back," he said. "My study was important in helping to substantiate that this is a problem associated with gender."

Examining census data from 2000 and 2010, Shepard found that more than half of 1,627 villages, rural townships, precincts and other locales with 800 or fewer people experienced an increased ratio of young men to young women.

The median increase was just under 7 percent, but many of the smallest communities saw extreme increases in excess of 200 percent -- in the proportion of males to females.

Shepard said he wanted to learn whether young women were staying in rural areas or returning home after college at the same rates as young men.

"There is a lot of awareness that younger people are leaving rural communities," Shepard said. "Where some of the men can come back, because there are a lot of traditionally male jobs like agriculture and industry to return to, many rural communities don't often provide the same opportunity to women. As long as that imbalance is there, it's going to
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Contact: Robert Shepard
shepard@huskers.unl.edu
402-472-4547
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Source:Eurekalert  

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