John J. Green, Director of the Center for Population Studies and Eleanor M. Green, attended the “W3001: The Great Recession, Its Aftermath, and Patterns of Rural and Small Town Demographic Change” meeting in beautiful Ithaca, New York. The Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University hosted the meeting. Here is their overview of the meeting that took place in September 2013.
The W3001 committee is made up of demographic researchers from a variety of colleges, universities, and agencies. It is dedicated to addressing rural population issues that matter to policy makers, community leaders, and local residents. The multi-state collaboration allows researchers to take advantage of the unique and diverse skills of all committee members and their affiliated institutions, including academic departments and population research centers across the country.
The meeting began with an informal reception provided by David Brown and Nina Glasgow. We began each day with walk through downtown Ithaca up the hill to the beautiful campus of Cornell University. The meeting started with a gathering of community partners and researchers to enhance collaboration and share information. Our discussions were lead by guiding questions. These included: What are the primary demographic issues facing rural areas and small towns? How has the recession impacted rural and small communities? What do we need to know more about, what are the research/communication gaps? How can universities and communities work together to address these issues? After lunch on the first day, we broke into small groups to discuss issues along four themes: the rural energy boom, housing, inequality and poverty, and population distribution. We ended our day with discussions about how present research to make an impact. The morning of the second day focused on an introduction to U.S. Census Restricted Access Data Centers and how researchers can access this resource. Additionally, we were introduced to a new resource available at www.netmigration.wisc.edu. The meeting ended with a field trip to the Pennsylvania Gas Country to learn about the community impacts of fracking. The evening ended with a wonderful dinner in the New York wine country.
The W3001 project’s primary goal is the production of policy-relevant research that informs users about demographic trends and their implications for rural policy. The committee aims for broad readership among policy makers and plans to continue its strong record of outreach. The work does not evaluate the operation of particular public policies or practices, but it does provide essential contextual information that helps policy makers decide where public intervention is most needed, and the alternative forms such actions might take. Richelle Winkler completed her term of service as chair of the W3001 committee at the 2013 meeting, and Scott Sanders was elected to this leadership role.