Community Development News

New Immigrants Deliver Opportunity, Challenges to Small Towns

Immigration is reshaping the landscape of rural America. A rapidly growing Hispanic population is driving the trend. New immigrants are offsetting population loss, a challenge faced by many small communities. 

In our home state of Nebraska, the Hispanic population will triple by 2050, accounting for 25% of the state population. More than 40% of this growth is happening in rural communities. The majority population in several Nebraska small towns has shifted to Hispanic.

Byway of Art Project a Finalist!

A handful of neighboring communities and the Center for Rural Affairs are finalists for an ArtPlace grant: a nationwide competition to fund various avant-garde ‘public art’ projects.

Accessible and built from community involvement and collaboration, public art often speaks to a community’s sense of ‘place.’ Communities gain social, cultural, and economic value. Public spaces are invigorated, and communities gain uniqueness.

Communities Strengthened through Business to Business Connections

New immigrants have started new businesses throughout the country. However, in small towns with growing new immigrant populations, we found that few long-time residents patronize these new businesses. And few new immigrants patronize long-time residents’ businesses. It seems like a missed opportunity.

Language barriers or the fear of not being welcome are often causes. How can you break through that barrier? We asked that question in two small towns recently. Part of the answer seems to be in developing inclusive “Business to Business” tours.

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