Growing up in a town of about 35,000 people is an experience: from the limited possibilities to the low crime rates, living in a small, rather isolated town sometimes causes newcomers to reevaluate their decision. Teenagers in my small town complain often about the lack of activities for youth here. Many adolescents in Minot, North Dakota spend their time participating in sports; our high school teams are successful at state meets. One disadvantage that living in a small town has in regards to high school athletics is the limited possibilities because scouts from professional and college settings are not likely to come to a state with just over 9 people per square mile. The low population also has another affect: living in a state where most migration is within or out of state, nearly everybody is related to each other. I go to school with people who can talk about their cousins, second cousins, and third cousins who all go to my high school. This is great if a person has family here, but to those without relatives nearby, it can be a rather closed door society. Public schools in Minot do not grant more than a week and a few days off for winter break and two days off for spring break; those families who have relatives close-by can see them without having to rush, but for those that must travel further, spring break is not a good time to visit relatives unless a person is looking to miss school. In an isolated community like Minot, where the nearest city almost 100,000 people is about 250 miles away, the remoteness is a factor in young people wanting to leave the state. For some though, the vastness of the North Dakota prairies is great enough to overlook the states’ shortcomings. There are advantages to living in a secluded state like North Dakota like the low crime rates. North Dakota is often labeled as a great place to raise kids because they can play out in the yard without the parents’ fear of abduction or other crimes. There are few busy roads and there are many parks and playgrounds. And for the religious minded, small towns like Minot often boast of hundreds of different churches. Living in a small town has its advantages and disadvantages; much of the time, whether or not a person wants to live in a large metropolis or a small, rural community depends on their career and other dreams.
Minot, North Dakota
March 18, 2008