This study of country life opportunity and analysis of various phases of the rural problems in America has been written at the request of the International Committee of Young Menís Christian Associations, particularly for their County Work and Student departments. The former desired a handbook for the training of leaders in rural Christian work and the latter a textbook for the use of college students in Christian Associations wishing to study the fundamentals of rural social service and rural progress. It is the sincere hope of those who have asked for this book that it may bring to very many earnest young men and women, and especially in the colleges of the United States and Canada, a challenging vision of the need of trained leadership in every phase of rural life, as well as a real opportunity for life investment.
nce 1890; while in a single decade almost 70% of the rural townships in the state reported a loss. The rural state of Iowa actually reports a net loss of 7,000 for the last decade (1900), though Des Moines alone gained 24,200, and all but two of the cities above 8,000 grew.
Naturally in the older sections of the country the rural losses hitherto have been most startling. In the rural sections of New Hampshire Dr. W. L. Anderson found serious depletion from 1890 to 1900, "a great enough loss to strain rural society"; and the 1910 census reports even worse losses. The same has been only less true of the rural districts in Maine, Vermont, eastern Connecticut and portions of all the older states. The cities' gains cost the country dear, in abandoned farms, weakened schools and churches and discouraged communities drained of their vitality.
The Surprising Growth of Rural America
However, in spite of this story of rural depletion which has been often rehearsed, the rural sections of