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Economic impact of new residents in Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties

Key findings for communities

Ben Winchester talking to a mom and her kids
  • Surveyed newcomers reported $6.6 million in household income in 2009 and 2010. This equates to an average household income of $66,000.
  • New, expanded or relocated businesses owned by newcomers reported spending $108,000 in the region.
  • The total economic impact of surveyed newcomers’ business and household spending was $9.1 million, including 174 jobs and $7.2 million in labor income (wages, salaries and benefits).
  • Top industries impacted by newcomers included wholesale and retail trade, food and drinking establishments, housing and health care.
  • While the survey was not random, and therefore results cannot be extrapolated outside the study region, the average newcomer household contributed $92,000 in economic activity to the region in 2009 and 2010.

About this study

The 2010 Census data continues to tell a story of population decline in Western and Southwestern Minnesota. General population trends, however, only provide part of the story. Many researchers have highlighted declines in the number of college‐age adults in the region, even nicknaming the phenomenon “brain drain.”

Further examination of population trends has uncovered a corresponding “rural rebound” in the same communities. The population of prime working age individuals (ages 35‐44) has increased in many rural counties. These individuals are often well‐educated and have job skills and families.

Given these observations, community leaders in Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties decided to further explore drivers of the rural rebound, ways to continue to attract and retain new residents to the region and the significance of their presence in the community. 

This report explores the economic impact of new residents in the five‐county region. New residents create economic impact as they bring new dollars into the region through both their household spending and their business activities. This project is being conducted under the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality’s economic impact analysis program.

More about this report

Read full report (PDF)

Reviewed in 2011

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