Sociologists have identified a number of different types of rural communities, which have arisen as a result of changing economic trends within rural regions of industrial nations. The basic trend seems to be one in which communities are required to become entrepreneurial. Those that lack the sort of characteristics mentioned below, are forced to either seek out their niche or accept eventual economic defeat. These towns focus on marketing and public relations whilst bidding for business and government operations; such as, off-site data processing or, perhaps, a factory.

For instance; International Falls, Minnesota markets itself as a site for sub-zero temperature experiments; Ottawa, Illinois managed to attract three Japanese firms; Freeport, Maine has become a center for mail-order companies such as L. L. Bean; and Mobile, Arizona has become the home of a number of solid-waste landfills. Academic Communities: Academic communities are those in which the primary employers are boarding schools, colleges, universities, research laboratories, and corporate training facilities. These communities bring people away from other regions and thus bring new capital into the area.

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Academic institutions, in rural areas, are very much like a factory in that the economic success of the community depends upon the success of the institution. Unlike factories, academic institutions tend to primarily offer jobs in the medium-skilled to professional range. Recreation Communities: Recreation communities (tourist towns) define some local feature, usually a historic site or scenic vista, as a “natural resource” and market this to tourists. Travelers will then spend money on food, hotels, and the like, which brings capital into the town.

Retirement Communities: Retirement communities tend to house large numbers of elderly people. These retirees, bring pensions, Social Security, and savings which infuse the area with capital. Rural hospitals are increasingly unable to bring enough patients to support their operational budget, and retirement communities have developed, in some areas, as a means to solve this problem. Elderly residents, who migrate from the cities, tend to have above average wealth, thus creating an income disparity between the migrant retirees and the local elderly.