Iowa's vanishing farm youth and their schools

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Lancelot, W.
Morgan, Barton
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Extension and Experiment Station Publications
It can be very challenging to locate information about individual ISU Extension publications via the library website. Quick Search will list the name of the series, but it will not list individual publications within each series. The Parks Library Reference Collection has a List of Current Series, Serial Publications (Series Publications of Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service), published as of March 2004. It lists each publication from 1888-2004 (by title and publication number - and in some cases it will show an author name).
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The number of young people living on Iowa farms has been steadily declining over a long period. The recent federal census shows that the movement of farm youth to towns and cities was general throughout Iowa during the 30’s, despite the limited opportunities for employment in the urban centers. In some counties this movement was so great that the number of young people remaining on farms was considerably less than that needed to replace the present farm population.

During the 10-year period ending in 1940, the total population of the towns and cities of the state increased by approximately 115,000. On the other hand, there was a loss of nearly 48,000 people from the farms. This decrease would probably cause no concern but for the disturbing fact that it consisted essentially of children and youth less than 21 years of age. The decline in farm young people exceeded by more than 20,000 the total loss in farm population, the difference being made up by an increase in the number of adults living on farms. The average age of the farm people of the state is therefore rising, and the ability of the farm population to reproduce itself is declining as a result of its diminishing proportion of young people.

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