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Cost of living report with impact to rural Minnesota

Devin Martin
Updated: July 16, 2020 10:49 PM
Created: July 16, 2020 09:44 PM

(ABC 6 News) - A new report from the Center for Rural Policy and Development is shedding some light on the benefits of living and working in rural Minnesota.

Several local representatives agree with the benefits but say work can still be done to keep our region connected and thriving in this digital age.
 
The report states that an average adult would have to make $20 per hour hypothetically to live in the twin cities metro.

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By taking a trip south on Interstate 35 or Highway 52, you could see that average drop to $14 per hour.
           
This quite possibly, making rural Minnesota a more attractive location for families.
 
"It gives Minnesotans greater choices about where they want to live and it provides further information as they make those important decisions and stay well,” Senator Carla Nelson, (R) Rochester said. 
 
Representative Nels Pierson says having affordable housing available will help families as they decide where they want to live.
 
"We have in rural Minnesota some of the best rural workforces in the world. When you look at how to attract the best people, I think looking at how you can make it so people can afford to live in a certain area or feel like they can create and build well for themselves,” Representative Pierson, (R) Rochester said. “That's something that is going to have a positive impact." 
 
According to the Center for Rural Policy and Development Report, the cost of living factors that are lower in rural Minnesota is childcare, housing, and taxes. However, transportation and healthcare tend to be more expensive. 
 
"I think it's interesting because in a lot of ways in rural areas we come with solutions that compensate for those factors,” Representative Pierson said. “Whether it's childcare or transportation costs. Initially, it might look like it might be higher but then you look at the study and it shows some of those are reflected very competitively and are lower in the rural areas."
 
Representative Jeanne Poppe says Southern Minnesota benefits from having a good cost of living. 
 
"There's certainly job opportunities,” Representative Poppe, (DFL) Austin said. “We actually are a magnet and some people are choosing because of the cost of living, because of the opportunities to live in the rural parts of the state." 
 
We also reached out to Representative Duane Quam who said people find a place to live depending on preferences and choices. He says local control and the will of the community matter in these decisions. 
 
But there's at least one issue that many lawmakers continue to fight for in rural Minnesota.
 
Access to high-speed internet could give families more of the freedom to decide where they want to live and work from in a COVID-19 world. 
 
"If there is access to high-speed broadband, I see a real rural renaissance where families choose to live in our smaller towns,” Sen. Nelson said. 
 


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