A Few Things to Know About Rural America

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Knowing what is true about rural places and people is a challenge. Too often, people lump all of rural America into one “flyover-country” stereotype. But saying that all of rural America is the same is like saying Detroit and San Francisco are the same, or Birmingham and Boston. This brief shares a few truths worth knowing about rural America.

Key Facts:

  • 19.3% of the US Population lives in rural America, about 60 million people.
  • The number of people living in rural America increased 11% from 1970- 2010.
  • Agriculture employs less than 5% of the rural workforce.
  • People of color comprised 83% of rural population growth, 2000 – 2010.
  • In 2017, the rural poverty rate stood at 16.4% compared to urban at 12.9%.
  • For children, the rural poverty rate was 22.8%, more than five points higher than urban at 17.7%.
Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group