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Revisiting Rural America.

What does it mean to live in rural America today? After an election in which the polarization between rural and urban voters widened dramatically — on average, a 26-point gap — many are seeking to better understand the experiences of a population that is too often left out of the conversation.

A common refrain among rural Americans is that the nation’s economy is leaving them behind. It can also be said that these rural residents are being left behind as consumers — underserved by major brands and service providers. Thirty-nine percent of rural counties today lack access to broadband; 40 percent of them lack a bank branch. In urban America, there is an average of 39.8 patients for each primary care provider; in rural America, that number rises to 53.5.

However, rural America also presents a more complicated picture than stereotypes suggest. Eighty-three percent of rural growth between 2000 and 2010 was made up of Hispanic residents, who have helped slow a longstanding decline in the rural population. While traditional sources of income like manufacturing and mining have diminished, there are now new sources of rural employment — like renewable energy.

We’re working to better recognize the complexity of these communities and the reality of the challenges they face. Want to know more? Download the full report.

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