America’s Ghost State

Grandiose pronouncements about the glory of the great open West aside, there really aren’t many places in America anymore that could truly be considered underpopulated. And when desolation does exist, it is rarely that poetic type of desolation described in flowery novels. More often, it is the quietly desperate solitude of a place like North Dakota, which has been losing people for decades, and may be on the verge of becoming America’s first wholly forsaken state. “But even as the American small town continues what often seems like an irresistible decline, some in northwest North Dakota are mounting a resistance, an organized effort to draw people — new people, young people, families — to their small towns.”