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New residents to the Nebraska Panhandle compared and researched rural communities before making their decision to move. This was one of the themes that emerged in a qualitative study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture CSREES National Research Initiative Grant program. The new movers not only compared communities, but they had choices, as one individual stated, “We spent about six months looking at different communities … we developed a formula … 50 percent job … 25 percent community, 25 percent school.”
Thirteen questions were asked to 78 new residents that participated in twelve focus groups conducted in the region. From the analysis of the data, a model was created that provides a broad picture of themes that influenced individuals in moving to a rural community (see Figure 1, on next page).