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Iowa State University Extension

Why they leave, why they come, why they stay: Study looks at moving in nonmetro Iowa


People are moving from and to rural Iowa for work, family, community and housing reasons, according to a study by the Community Vitality Center (CVC) at Iowa State University. The New Movers Study examines the experiences of 737 households who moved to or from 19 nonmetropolitan counties from 2003 to 2005. The survey was designed to help community leaders understand why people move in rural areas and to identify strategies for attracting and retaining population. CVC senior researcher Sandra Burke says, “This study allows us to compare people who have moved into Iowa with those who have moved out.”

Burke said, “While work-related reasons were the most important factors cited for relocating by those moving into or out of the selected counties, those who moved within the same county said housing was the most important reason for making their recent move.”

Family factors included children, parents, siblings, friends, relationships and health status. Community factors included services, amenities, weather and lifestyle, Burke said.

The CVC is publishing the findings in a series of reports that will focus on the details of work, family and community reasons for moving. Visit the CVC Web site for all the reports as they become available, as well as the survey questionnaire. ISU Extension is the CVC’s administrative host and fiscal agent.

This article appeared in October 2007 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter