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.
October 19, 2017 | Research