Evaluating Free Land Programs as a Method of Reversing the Trend of Population Decline in Rural Kansas

Authors: Karl F. Bauer*, Kansas State University
Topics: Rural Geography, Population Geography, Migration
Keywords: Rural Geography, Rural Population Decline, Kansas, Great Plains, Population, Rural Development, Free Land
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bourbon Room, Astor, Mezzanine
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


For as many as 100 years, population decline has been a chronic issue in much of rural North America, but especially in Kansas and other Great Plains states. Its effects have been felt through consolidations of schools and places of worship, loss of services, and under extreme circumstances, the abandonment of entire communities. Some communities facing population decline are promoting free land programs, in which they are offering free residential lots to anyone willing to construct a house and live in it, in the hopes of growing the community and keeping services. This study examines the free land programs of several small towns in Kansas and their effectiveness in reversing rural population decline.

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