Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Finding Your Happy Place in Rural Areas

I came across an interesting Washington Post blog ( on some research published a little while back by the Vancouver School of Economics and McGill University concerning the geography of well-being in Canada.  With over 400,000 responses from 1,200 communities across Canada, the study truly covered the country’s entire geography.

Their chief finding centered on a correlation between population density (concentration of people in a given area) and happiness.  When researchers ranked the average happiness of all of these communities, they found that average population density in the 20 percent most miserable communities was more than eight times greater than in the happiest 20 percent of communities.  The paper concluded that life is significantly less happy in urban areas versus rural areas.

The research found that people in the happiest communities have shorter commute times, less expensive housing, and less transient population of residents.  They are more likely to attend church and are significantly more likely to feel a “sense of belonging” in their communities.  There are other studies done in the United States that support the “rural-urban happiness gradient” which states simply that the farther away from the cities people live, the happier they tend to be.

For me, this study supports why we are seeing growth across new lifestyle segments including weekend farmers/ranchers, hobby farmers, gentleman farmers, backyard gardeners, etc. These are all people who aren’t quite ready to pull up roots in the city and move to a small town.  But they are seeking a break from the hustle and bustle, and find it in gardening, part-time farming, or raising chickens, horses, or a few head of cattle.

If you are marketing to this population, thinking of ways to tie into this happiness factor with your brand could be very effective.  Geile/Leon Marketing Communications professionals can help you find that emotional connection between your brand and the rural lifestyle audience.

Tim Leon is President of Geile Leon Marketing Communications and owns a 137 acre property in southern Missouri where he can be found on the weekends.