Millennials Are Leading a ‘Rural Revitalization’ as They Leave Cities for Good

Beautiful farmland in the Ohio countryside.
Ronald E Grafe / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Social distancing created a lot of family togetherness. One antidote is moving to a larger space. For millennials, this often means a move past the suburbs to rural communities.

See: Fastest-Growing Towns in Rural AmericaFind: When Is the Best Time to Buy a Home in 2021?

Hal Lawton, the CEO of Tractor Supply (NASDAQ: TSCO), told CNBC’s Jim Cramer during an interview on “Mad Money” that his company’s sales have been strong because of younger people establishing households in their markets. Tractor Supply is located in rural and exurban communities. It carries a traditional home improvement inventory as well as supplies specific to rural life, including animal feed, welding and pump supplies and riding mowers. First quarter earnings were stronger than expected, in part due to sales to millennial customers.

This represents a movement away from the urbanization of the last 20 years. President Biden’s American Jobs Act, working its way through Congress, includes provisions that would make rural communities even more attractive. It calls for improved water supplies, better internet infrastructure and repairs to bridges and highways that provide access to larger communities. If they pass, they would add to the appeal of a rural lifestyle.

For decades, people have had to leave rural communities in order to make a living. As employers allow more remote and hybrid work arrangements, workers can bring their livelihoods with them when they move beyond commuting distance. If the trend continues, it marks a change in American life. Is a remake of Green Acres or Hee-Haw next?

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