Where are young people actually choosing to live, and what’s drawing them there? Here’s a look at a few rural communities of all sizes.
— from tiny Camas County, Idaho, to booming Franklin County, Washington — that are attracting young people in surprising ways.
Some counties in the region buck the aging trend.
Here’s another segment of this article which includes some detail about our northern county – Camas County, and an interview with Julia Oxarango-Ingram, Director of Southern Idaho Rural Development.
Camas County, Idaho
By the numbers: Population, 1990: 734; 2000: 984; 2010: 1,111
What’s interesting here: This small community has grown steadily since 1990. While 20-somethings and elderly people alike have generally moved out, the county has continually attracted young families and 30-somethings.
They say: Attracting kids and 30-somethings is not the typical trajectory for a ski economy like Camas’. Still, since 1990, people in their 30s and their young children have slowly but steadily migrated to Camas County, where Bruce Willis once owned the local ski resort and where locals say land is more affordable than nearby Sun Valley. “We do tend to lose our young people, mainly because there aren’t a lot of job opportunities,” said Julia Oxarango-Ingram, director at Southern Idaho Rural Development. A handful of local food enterprises have launched recently in the region, including artisan creameries producing goat and sheep milk cheese products, as well as a brewery in the county’s biggest town, Fairfield. Oxarango-Ingram wants to encourage more foodie growth, so she’s talking with farmers, universities and economic development officials in the agriculture-heavy Basque region in Spain and France to explore the idea of a student exchange program or business development exchange. “They’ve got a lot of established technique and cutting-edge technology because they’ve been doing local agriculture for a very long time,” she said.