Small-town America is not what it used to be. The transportation and communications revolutions have spread the advantages and amenities of big cities into less populous regions—and, in many cases, these regions are still very much underserved by the legal community. Moreover, housing is affordable, commuting to and from work is not an issue, and schools have fewer problems than their urban counterparts.
Surveys and statistics can be valuable indicators of where to locate a law practice. The information you glean from respected sources should definitely be incorporated into your decision about the best place(s) for you to practice law.