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Iowa State University Study: Small Towns Important

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AMES, Iowa -- An Iowa State University study tracking small-town Iowa has found both positives and some negatives to life in rural Iowa.

A team of researchers are surveying 99 towns in Iowa -- one in each county. The mailed surveys are sent to households to ask about satisfaction with services such as day care, or medical. The surveys also ask about governmental services.

Stephen Sapp of ISU's Department of Sociology said that many small-town residents are satisfied with the government services they receive.

The big positives to living in a small town for many are close ties to family there. For others, they want to stay where they grew up.  For some, the small town is a place to be near work.

Small town residents do face some challenges with child care and medical services, though some communities are noting progress in these areas.

"The conclusion is that people still enjoy living in small towns," Sapp said.

The study showed that neighboring is important as is access to local news. News could be from a newspaper or a community Facebook page.

"Community attachment is the key, you get that, you get voting, you get active participation, you get volunteering," Sapp said.

Out of the 99 towns being studied, six towns will get a face-to-face visit. Part of the team has spent several days this week in Webster City.

"There's no way to duplicate this idea of sitting down with people and talking with them," Sapp said.

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