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If you’re looking for a lot of peace and quiet, and don’t mind harsh midwestern winters, Monowi, Nebraska is paradise.

This Boyd County hamlet near Nebraska’s border with South Dakota boasts plenty of room to stretch out and breathe. That’s because it has a population of one. Her name is Elsie Eiler. She runs the Monowi Tavern, oversees a collection of 5,000 books as head librarian, and won the last mayoral election in a landslide.

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Ms. Eiler seems friendly enough but, if moving to a town with only one resident seems a bit odd, perhaps you’d want to consider a slightly livelier place to call home. Twenty-one miles away, in the same county, you’ll find the village of Gross, Nebraska, population two. Like Elsie, Mike and Mary Finnegan own a bar. However, despite being twice as crowded, the town of Gross also has one-sided mayoral races. Mary lets Mike have that job.

Why are these two incorporated towns so small? They weren’t always this way. Over the years, residents of Monowi and Gross simply left for better job opportunities in larger cities. There are rural places all over America that can tell similar stories.

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige