How much has life changed in rural communities since Foote's era?

Quick answer:

Life in small towns and rural communities has changed greatly over the past decades as community dynamics have changed (people moving out and new people moving in) and as technology has led to more individualism. There is less of a sense of community togetherness and neighborly unity today.

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Small town life in just about any place in the US used to be all about close community and family life. Everyone knew everyone else's business (sometimes before the person in question did). Neighbors worked together and pulled together to get each other through difficult times. Families supported each other. School communities may have had their issues, but they also had school spirit and a sense of togetherness. People gathered for celebrations and for comfort in times of grief. Of course, there were exceptions, but this was generally the way of small town life in Texas and elsewhere.

Let's think about how this has changed over the last few decades. Certainly, the sense of community has at least weakened. Many people have moved away from small towns, looking for opportunities in urban areas. Older residents have passed away. New people have moved in, but these people rarely have a sense of local history and the shared bond it provides. Some integrate into the community, to be sure. Others, however, work in urban areas and merely live in small towns for the sake of convenience. They spend much of their time in the city at their jobs and little time socializing with neighbors. Community togetherness and support have weakened over the years. People still help each other when the need arises, but there is often less spontaneity in reaching out to know one's neighbors. People are far more often strangers to each other than they used to be.

Let's think, too, about the effect that the rise of technology has had on small town life. Technology has enabled greater access to information and entertainment and greater opportunities to travel and connect with the larger world, but this has sometimes hurt small town unity. People are sometimes less interested in local events and spend more time in individual pursuits. Again, neighbors don't know each other like they once did, and they are less likely to try to form social networks because they are focused on their own activities. Even families feel the affects of technology as it can isolate family members from one another and cut down on the time families spend together.

Indeed, small town life has changed a lot over the years, and while people are still more like to come together and know each other in small towns, there is certainly less of a sense of unity and community than there used to be.

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