A few years ago, Carol and George Snyder sold their longtime home in Lincoln, Neb., and decided to retire 270 miles away, to some acreage outside the town of Long Pine, Neb., population 320. By some measures, they didn't go about it the right way. They couldn't be happier. The Snyders don't think of themselves as being on the leading edge of any trends, but they are. They're part of a movement that a recent federal study suggests will see significant numbers of retirees moving from cities and suburbs to the countryside and tiny rural towns. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicts that baby boomers are heading for green acres, where in the next decade they'll swell the rural and small-town retirement-age populations by two-thirds, from 8.6 million to 14.2 million. To be sure, statistically speaking, the typical boomer expects to stay right where he or she is and "age in place." But John Cromartie and Peter Nelson, who authored the USDA rep...
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