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Economy

Returning to the Rust Belt

A new study explores the reasons why some people are coming home.
A man walks past a closed business in Youngstown, Ohio.
A man walks past a closed business in Youngstown, Ohio.Bryan Snyder/Reuters

For decades, the Rust Belt was synonymous with deindustrialization and economic decline. Images of shuttered factories and abandoned neighborhoods have been dubbed “ruin porn.” As factories moved to the suburbs, the Sunbelt, or off-shore, jobs and people followed. Those who could, moved away. Neighborhoods and entire cities lost their economic function and hollowed out.

But in recent years, signs of comeback and revival have been bolstered by the return of young, educated, and sometimes prominent natives to their hometowns.