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Do you need background information on the challenges facing rural America? The following documents provide a fuller understanding of America's rural landscape.

  • At the Razor's Edge: Building Hope for America's Rural Poor (PDF)(1.35 MB)
    Hurricane Katrina exposed the poverty that lay in our midst, and although the images served to remind the country of its enduring inequality, the picture was one of urban poverty. What the images failed to expose is the rural face of poverty, which in the South -- and especially in the Delta -- is the face of poverty. About one-third of the area hit by Katrina is rural, and the rate of poverty in the rural South stands at nearly 18%, the highest of any region in the country. What is too often overlooked is that poverty rates nationwide are consistently higher in rural than in urban areas (as a percentage of the population), and poverty is far more persistent in rural localities. The causes of rural poverty are detailed in this issue brief by Leif Jensen of the Rural Sociological Society, and policy solutions that might address them are proposed.
  • Assessment of the Economic Impacts of Rural Public Transportation (PDF)(1.88 MB)
    The nation's growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Current systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. This TCRP report uses case studies to determine the economic impact of rural transit on a community and estimates their cumulative national impact as well.
  • Low-Skill Employment and the Changing Economy of Rural America (PDF)(464 KB)
    The changing patterns of low-skill employment in the rural labor force are the subject of this 2005 study by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. Results are compared across demographic subgroups and to historical data.
  • Why Are Health Care Expenditures Increasing and Is There a Rural Differential? (PDF)(61 KB)
    This Rural Policy Brief delineates the factors that have caused rising health care expenditures in America and illustrates how health spending increases have affected rural families differently than urban families.
  • Demographic Trends in Rural and Small Town America (PDF)(2.23 MB)
    Kenneth Johnson's study of the demographic patterns in rural America identifies changing trends in the population and economy of nonurban areas from the 1970s to today. Causes for these trends and policy issues are also addressed.
  • Shaping the Future of Rural America: Banks and Economic Development (PDF)(538 KB)
    The role that banks must assume in fomenting rural economic development is the subject of this article written by John D. Hawke during his tenure as Comptroller of the Currency. It includes a list of lending resources for rural economic development.
  • Peering into Rural America's Future (PDF)(1.6 MB)
    In this presentation, Mark Drabenstott of the Center for the Study of Rural America summarizes the five trends that will affect the economic future of rural America. Drabenstott depicts the vast differences that can exist between one rural area and another, and emphasizes the importance of knowing the unique circumstances of the rural community that you serve.

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