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I have lived in many places, including rural ones, but was born and presently live in an urban area.

In Hungary and Slovakia, rural areas face the exact same problems as you describe: too little job choice, poverty, young people moving away. During communism, there have been from-above attempts to mend the problem, but they usually caused more trouble than benefits. Then the state did little since 1989. However, the counter-migration of middle- and upper-class people out from the city, and also the mass trend for weekend homes, limited the shift somewhat.

In East Germany, my impression is that the problem is much worse, with post-Reunification out-migration threatening to depopulate whole areas, despite the extensive reconstruction of villages and new construction of private homes with generous state support.

In West Germany and Austria, on one hand even farmers are rich, on the other hand settlement structure is so dense and/or tourism is as widespread that city various emigrants seem to balance those who leave, but there too, young people prefer the cities to farming.

I, like DeAnander, think that on the long run, it's major cities that are doomed. In the post-oil-economy, people might feel forced to move closer to the source of food just like after WWII.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Sep 16th, 2007 at 07:36:02 AM EST

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