Political Rhetoric Exaggerates Economic Divisions Between Rural and Urban America

Brookings Institution: “…a close look at the data shows that urban and rural America are not as distant, economically or geographically, as the rhetoric may suggest.”

“It turns out that a majority of rural Americans actually reside within metropolitan areas. Nearly 54 percent of people living in areas classified by the Census Bureau as rural also live in a county that is part of one of the nation’s 383 metropolitan areas. These 32 million residents of rural communities are thus part of wider labor markets that cluster around one or more cities, and most of them likely live within a reasonable commuting distance of those cities.”

 

 

“Of course, this means that the other 46 percent of rural Americans live in small communities not particularly tethered to a city. Yet many of those communities are still interdependent with urban areas, as Brian Dabson has argued. Rural places contribute agriculture, energy, workers, natural amenities, and environmental stewardship to urban residents. Likewise, urban places provide jobs, markets, and specialized services for rural workers and businesses, while generating resources for investment back into rural communities.”

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