ISU Sociologists to Study a Decade of Change in Iowa Communities

January 28th, 2004

Sociologists from Iowa State University will be studying changes in rural communities during the past 10 years. The researchers received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for $210,000 to survey residents about the quality of life in their communities.

In 1994, researchers selected 100 Iowa communities, at least one in each county, to participate in a study of rural life in Iowa. Those same communities will be surveyed again to determine how the quality of life and citizen involvement in each community has changed.

"We have the opportunity in this study to learn how the events of the 1990s impacted small town life," said Terry Besser, Iowa State rural sociologist. “This knowledge will be useful for small town leaders and residents in their efforts to help their towns survive and even thrive in the new century.”

The survey will be sent out this month. Researchers urge residents in participating communities to respond to the survey. Community leaders also will be contacted for personal interviews in order to gather supplemental data. The results will be used to determine the opportunities and problems present in small towns. Researchers expect that these results will help guide future community development efforts.


Terry Besser, Sociology, (515) 294-6508,
Vern Ryan, Sociology, (515) 294-5011,
Kerry Agnitsch, Sociology, (515) 294-4095,
Barbara McManus, Communications Service, (515) 294-0707,