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5/19 - Reversing the Exodus: Strategies for Attracting & Retaining Young Adults in Rural Communities

In 2018, 86 of Illinois’ 102 counties experienced population decline. Almost every rural county in Illinois has experienced an outmigration of its youngest and brightest talent. In September, the 2020 census data will be available, and experts are saying that they expect the trend to continue.

Although the effects of the pandemic on outmigration have not had much research devoted to them yet, many experts are predicting that the pandemic may have changed migration patterns, especially in younger adults able to work remotely. University of Illinois Extension Specialist Pam Schallhorn will discuss several research-based strategies that communities can implement to help reverse the trend, as well as insights into how remote work may provide more opportunities for people to migrate back to rural communities.

“There are so many things that are impacted by the outmigration of young adults from rural communities, including school enrollment, availability of quality health care, future leadership, a skilled workforce and business development” according to the presenter Pam Schallhorn. “Developing a strategic plan to address outmigration and attract young adults back into rural communities could have a major impact on a community’s future.”

DATE: May 19, 2021

TIME: noon CST

COST: free


Pam Schallhorn is a regional Extension Specialist in Community and Economic Development with University of Illinois Extension. Schallhorn has spent the last six years studying what prompts people, especially young adults between the ages of 20 and 40, to return or remain in rural communities. She has assisted communities in conducting their own research by developing survey instruments and holding focus groups. Before coming to Extension, Pam was a commercial lender for over two decades as well as Director of the Small Business Development Center in Rockford, IL. Her teaching and research interests include entrepreneurship & innovation, access to capital, creative economies, reversing outmigration and cultural awareness. She has earned a master’s degree in Political Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Finance. For more information, please contact her at

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