Read our curated resources to stay up to date with the research and issues that impact Rural America

Is Your Child’s School Ready to Reopen?

The New York Times, Yaryna Serkez, Stuart A. Thompson, 8/18/2020

“…It depends on the county’s new infection rate and testing capabilities….

“Who gets left behind?…”

2020 Kids County Data Book

Annie E. Casey Foundation, 6/22/2020

“The 31st edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® Data Book describes how children across the United States were faring before the coronavirus pandemic began.

“This year’s publication continues to deliver the Foundation’s annual state rankings and the latest available data on child well-being. It also identifies multi-year trends — comparing statistics from 2010 to 2018. As always, policymakers, researchers, and advocates can continue using this information to help shape their work and build a stronger future for children, families, and communities.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Although the data in this book is the recent available, it does not include the effects of coronavirus. In 2018, 22.4 percent of nonmetro children in the United States were poor, compared to 17.3 percent of metro children. At the county level, on average over 2014-18, there were 41 counties in the United States with child poverty rates of 50 percent.

Rural Economy and Population

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 2019
See conditions in rural America and ERS classification and mapping for “(1) open country, (2) small towns population 2500 and fewer, and (3) urban areas with populations ranging from 2,500 to 49,999 that are not part of larger labor market areas (metropolitan areas).”

Revising the Narrative on Rural America

Aspen Ideas Festival, 2019, Sarah Smarsh, Journalist and Author — Video
“It’s incredibly important for us to be inspired by one and another, to look another in the eye and see goodness.”

Children Living in High Poverty, Low Opportunity Neighborhoods

Annie E. Casey Foundation, 9/24/2019
“In this snapshot on concentrated poverty, you’ll learn which child populations are most likely to live in concentrated poverty … how child poverty rates have changed over time in each state….”

Helping out Farm Families and a Quick Update on Things

Millennial Farmers, YouTube, 3/24/2019
“Spring weather, flooding donations, our combine situation, Roudup/glyphosate, No till, and the new podcast. Here’s a quick update on what’s going on!”

2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Annie E. Casey Foundation, 6/16/2019
“2019 State Trends in Child Well-Being” – book is downloadable.

Delivering Summer Meals to Rural, Low-Income Kids with Retired School Buses

Civil Eats, Chris Hardman, Good Justice, Nutrition, School Food, 6/8/2017
Jun 08, 2017 · The Lunch Express, first developed in 2012, delivers lunch five days a week to children in remote areas of the region using four refurbished school buses. In rural Northeast Tennessee, one in four children lives at or below the poverty level, which translates to a lot of hungry kids.

Farm Family

CHSincorporated, YouTube, 1/5/2017 – VIDEO
See families working on their farms across the Midwest.

Falling by the Wayside: Children in Rural America

Children’s Defense Fund – sponsored by Aspen Inst. for Humanistic Studies, New York, NY.; Charles H. Revson Foundation, Inc., New York, NY.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
“Economic, social, and health indicators show t…/hat as many as one-quarter of rural children face problems usually attributed only to inner cities. Rural children are poorer than other American children and are less likely to have access to health insurance, health services, child care, government aid, or adequate housing….”

USDA ERS – National School Lunch Program

Apr 03, 2020 · The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is the Nation’s second largest food and nutrition assistance program. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, it operated in nearly 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools (grades PK-12) and residential child care institutions.

USDA ERS – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
USDA ERS – Summer Food Service Program
USDA ERS – Child Nutrition Programs
USDA ERS – School Breakfast Program

UNH Research Show Differences in Rural U.S. Fall Along Income Lines

(2017) for University of New Hampshire

Data Snapshot: Snap Declines Continue in 2016, but not for Rural America

by Jessica Carson (2017) for Carsey School of Public Policy

Child Poverty Higher in Rural America

by Andrew Schaefer, Marybeth Mattingly, Kenneth Johnson (2016) for Carsey School of Public Policy

Flimflam men. Flimflam statistics.

Washington Post, Dana Milbank, 5/29/2020
“Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp needed a way to show that he hadn’t been rash to reopen restaurants, theaters, nail salons and the like in late April….
“…They doctored the statistics….
“…Only in Brian Kemp’s Georgia is the first Thursday in May followed immediately by the last Sunday in April…” [More ‘mistakes’ followed.]

America’s Dairy Farmers Are Hurting. A Giant Merger Could Make Things Worse.


Trump Has Promised to Bring Jobs Back. His Tariffs Threaten to Send Them Away.


What Would Jesus Do About Inequality?


Can a Coal Town Reinvent Itself?


Trump is getting played by China on Trade

by Josh Rogin (2019) for The Washington Post

More Americans Credit Obama than Trump for Economy

by Jacqueline Thomsen (2018) for The Hill

Rural Poverty Skyrockets as Jobs move away

by Reid Wilson (2017) for The Hill

Can Biden Compete in Trump’s Rural Strongholds? Democrats Hope So.

The Washington Post, Annie Gowen, Jenna Johnson, 10/17/2020

“CRESTON, Iowa — Re Nae Fulton was willing to take a chance on Donald Trump after she voted for Barack Obama twice and saw little change in her small rural community in southwest Iowa. Trump was ‘something new,’ she said, a political outsider who might stick up for ‘regular Americans’ like her. Maybe he could finally spark some reinvestment and change.…”

“‘Silly us!’ Fulton, 58, a beautician who manages a hotel in the nearby town of Corning, now says. ‘He had everything handed to him. . . . Everything had to be about him — me, me, me, why aren’t you bowing down to me?’”

VP Pence Speech Falls Flat — Storm devastation deals Another blow to Midwest Farmers already faced with trade and ethanol woes

Feedstuffs, Jacqui Fatka, 8/13/2020

“Vice President Mike Pence visited Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday to re-launch the Trump campaign’s Farmers & Ranchers for Trump. However, to a room full of farmer supporters his message came off more as a campaign speech, and less understanding of the devastation that just swept through the state days prior, to compound an already bad situation in farm country….

“Vinton, Iowa farmers Lance Lillibridge, ‘We’re at our wit’s end with small refinery waivers and trade wars. And then this COVID thing. Now a huge storm blasts Iowa and steam rolls us. …’”

The Biden Plan for Rural America

“Rural America is home to roughly 20% of Americans, but we are all connected to rural communities in many ways. Rural Americans fuel us and feed us….

“A healthy, vibrant rural America is essential to the success of our country…. For all too many rural Americans, a pathway to the middle class is out of reach if they stay in their rural communities….

“The moral obligation of our time is rebuilding the middle class…. It should not be dependent on whether they live in a city center, a small town or a remote area….”

Trump Wants to Postpone the Election, but American Really Don’t

FiveThirtyEight, Geoffrey Skelly, 8/7/2020

“…But so far, Trump’s idea of postponing the election isn’t very popular. Three new polls:

“…Reuters/Ipsos found…. 66% oppose…

“…The Economist/YouGov found …66% oppose…

“…Politico/Morning Consult [found] …86% …said the election should stay on schedule….”

Disenchanted Seniors for Biden — The pandemic is particularly dangerous for seniors, and Trump is losing their support

The New York Times – Opinion, Michelle Cottle, 8/4/2020

“The ad opens with amateur footage of an older, white-haired woman, smiling and chatting with the toddler snuggled in her lap. In a voice-over, a younger woman reminisces about how her grandmothers home had always been ‘the safe place’….

“Then came the coronavirus….”

Tammy Duckworth is Nothing and Everything Like Joe Biden — Despite their Disparate Backgrounds, the Illinois Democrat Has Carved out a Public Life Most Evocative of the Men She Could Join in the Presidential Ticket

The New York Times, Matt Flegenheimer, 8/1/2020

“Senator Tammy Duckworth, like the man she might serve as vice president, prizes loyalty in her ranks and occasional mischief in her workplace….”

The Karen Bass Los Angeles Knows — The Congresswoman is one of Joe Biden’s Lowest Profile Contenders. But in L.A., she’s known as a community-driven operator whose limited national exposure is part of her effectiveness

Politico, Sandy Banks, 7/31/2020

“LOS ANGELES: On Election Day in the spring of 1968, 14-year-old Karen Bass was going door to door, trying to persuade her Los Angeles neighbors to vote for Robert F. Kennedy in the Democratic presidential primary….The teenage Bass saw him not just as a progressive politician, but as the activist she wanted to be.

It’s Absolutely Serious: Susan Rice Vaults to the Top of the VP Heap — Rivals for the vice presidential nod are growing nervous that the former national security advisor has a powerful edge — her relationship with Joe Biden

Politico, Nahal Tooshi, 7/27/2020

“Don’t count Susan Rice out of the vice presidential contest.

“At first glance, it might be easy to dismiss the former national security adviser’s chances of joining Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket. Rice has never run for elected office. She doesn’t bring along the loyalties of a swing state. Her work experience revolves largely around foreign affairs, which could seem redundant given Biden’s experience in those issues. Her son is a proud and active Republican, while the GOP has for years used her as a punching bag over the Benghazi tragedy — the main reason many Americans have ever even heard her name….”

President Trump has made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims

Washington Post — The Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, 7/19/2020

“it took President Trump 827 days to top 10,000 false and misleading claims in the THE FACT CHECKER’s data base, an average of 12 claims a day.

“But on July 9, just 440 days later the president crossed the 20,000 mark — an average of 23 claims a day over a 14-month period, which included Trump’s impeachment trial, the worldwide pandemic that crashed the economy and the eruption of protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

“The coronavirus pandemic has spawned a whole new genre of Trump’s falsehoods….”

Kamala Harris Makes Her Case — The Presidential Candidate Has Been Criticized as a Defender of the Status Quo… Can She Prove She’s a Force for Change?

The New Yorker, Donna Goodyear, 7/16/2020

“…The child of immigrant academics who divorced when she was young — her mother, a cancer researcher, came from India, and her father, an economist, from Jamaica — Harris grew up between Oakland and the Berkeley flats, but also spent time in college towns in the Midwest and a few years in Montreal, where her mother was teaching…”

The Case for Elizabeth Warren — The Former Front Runner Is Still the Best Candidate for Black Americans

SLATE, Julie Craven, 7/10/2020

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign vision for America covered all the bases.

“Where most of the Democratic presidential field supported racial justice and progressive ideals in general terms, palatable to a mainstream audience, Warren offered a platform specifically and explicitly designed to aid Black Americans in overcoming the consequences of racism. Alleviating inequality, particularly as experienced by Black people, was at the root of Warren’s policy proposals, in a way few of her well-meaning opponents could match….”

CNN Poll: Trump Losing Ground to Biden in Chaotic Week

CNN Politics, Jennifer Agiesta, 6/8/2020

“CNN – As protesters gather daily near the White House and the coronavirus pandemic rages on, the American public is souring on Donald Trump. A new CNN poll conducted by SSRS shows Trump’s approval rating down seven points in the last month…”

All 98 Environmental Rules the Trump Administration is Revoking or Rolling Back

The New York Times, Nadia Popovich, Kendra Pierre-Louis, Livia Albeck-Ripka, 5/10/2020

After three years in office, the ..Trump administration has dismantled most of the major climate and environmental policies the president promised to undo. … All told, the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions and lead to thousands of extra death from poor air quality each year, according to energy and legal analysts.

Who Represents Me

Find out who your representatives in Congress are.

One in Five Americans Live in Rural Areas

America Counts Staff, 8/9/2017

“…In general, rural areas are sparsely populated, have low housing density, and are far from /13/2018 centers. Urban areas make up only 3 percent of the entire land area of the country but are home to more than 80 percent of the population. Conversely, 97 percent of the country’s land mass is rural but only 19.3 percent of the population lives there …”. Learn more at “Defining Rural at the U.S. Census Bureau”

The Coronavirus Generation — The virus doesn’t sicken kids as much as an adults. But it can still destroy their futures. A child allowance would help.

The New York Times — New Analysis, Jason Deparle

“…As conveyed last year in a landmark report by the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicines, a growing scholarly consensus can be conveyed in two parts…that even brief stays in poverty can cause children lifelong harm, especially when the children are young. The other is that money helps: subsidizing the incomes of poor families leads their children on average to better health, more schooling, and higher earnings as adults….”

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map

United States leads the world with 2, 16i2, 851 cases, including 117,713 deaths.

G20 Extraordinary Agriculture Ministers Statement

Ministerial Statement on COVID-19, Virtual Meeting, 4/21/2020

“…We will guard against any unjustified restrictive measures that could lead to excessive food price volatility in international markets and threaten the food security and nutrition of large proportions of the world population, especially the most vulnerable living in environments of low food security. We agree that emergency measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic must be targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary, and that they do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global food supply chains, and are consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules….”

State by State: Comparing Coronavirus Death Rates Across the States

The New York Times, Lazaro Gamio, 4/22/2020

“Since the first confirmed case, the coronavirus has spread to all 50 states, claiming the lives of Americans coast to coast. This week, several Southern governors announced that they would ease restrictions on businesses. As governors in other parts of the country form coalitions to strategize lifting stay-at-home orders, a look at regional patterns reveals the challenges they will face as they try to combat the crisis.”

Redesign Required: Principles for Reimagining Federal Rural Policy in the COVAD-19 Era

The Aspen Institute – first in a three-part series, Kathryn Ferguson, Tony Pipa, Natalie Giesmar, 4/14/2020

“The COVID-19 crisis is testing America’s resilience. The rapidly accelerating economic fallout makes concrete the risks for a national economy built on the success of just a few key economic centers. … This includes rural and tribal places—and will require a reimagining of the federal policies intended to support them….”

COVID-19 May hit rural residents hard, and that spells trouble because of lack of Rural Healthcare

University of South Carolina, Kenneth J. Bennett, 4/13/2018

“The burden of COVID-19 in rural areas has been under the radar, as the toll of the disease so far has been heaviest in dense urban areas. But up to 30% of the U.S. population lives in rural America, which already has experienced more than 128 hospital closures since 2010, including 19 last year….”

Rural America’s Health Care Crisis Seizes States’ Attention

Pew Stateline Article – Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Michael Ollove, 1/31/2020

“Dr. George Pink is a professor who studies rural health, not a doctor who tries to provide it. For the sake of his own blood pressure, he’s grateful. “Not a day doesn’t go by that I don’t thank God I’m an academic and not the CEO of a rural hospital,” Pink says …” as he discusses the challenges, “Recruiting providers, finding money, dealing with payers and lawsuits, dealing with the poor health outcomes, opioid addiction.”

All nations should have universal health care

by Shinzo Abe and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (2019) for The Washington Post

Clean Water Matters: “Rural America’s Drinking Water Crisis”

by Sarah Jones and Emily Atkin (2018) for The New Republic

First Evidence Found of Popular Farm Pesticides in Drinking Water

by Ben Guarino (2017) for The Washington Post

New CDC Report Shows Cancer Rates Higher in Rural America

(2017) CDC press release

Medicare cuts hurt rural America

by Rural Health Web

Rural Hospitals See Graham-Cassady as Latest Threat to Survival

by Dave Barkholz (2017) for

Rural Hospitals are Dying and Pregnant Women are Paying the Price

by Lisa Rab (2017) for Politico Magazine

A Hospital Crisis is Killing Rural Communities. This state is ground zero.

by Dustin Chambers (2017) for Huffington Post

Will Off-Farm Income Weigh on Fragile Farm Economy? Part 1: Demographics

AEI Agriculture Economic Insights, David Widmar, 5/4/2020

“Off-Farm vs. On-Farm Metrics” – learn about farm household income by type and distribution of farm debt.

Study: Western U.S. in first megadrought caused by people

Washington Post, Andrew Freedman, Darryl Fears, 4/17/2020

“A vast region of the western United states, extending from California, Arizona and New Mexico north to Oregon and Idaho, is in the grips of the first climate change-induced mega drought observed in the past 1,200 years, a study shows. The finding means the phenomenon I no longer a threat for millions to worry about in the future, but is already here.

“The megadrought has emerged while thirsty, expanding cities are on a collision course with the water demands of thousands of farmers and with environmental interests, posing nightmare scenarios for water-managers in fast-growing states…”

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Duke University, Robert Bonnie, Emily Pechard Diamond, and Elizabeth Rowe, 2/13/2020
“Rural Americans matter—a lot—to the fate of U.S. environmental policy. This study explores: 1) the attitudes of rural Americans toward the environment and environmental policy; 2) what accounts for the apparent rural/urban divide on attitudes toward environmental policy; and 3) whether there are alternative policies, communications strategies, or, more broadly, ways to engage rural voters….”

British theologian N.T. Wright on the prosperity gospel, climate change and Advent

by Sarah Pulliam Bailey (2019) for The Washington Post

Rural Attitudes on Climate Change — Lessons from National and Midwest Polling Groups

Duke Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Emily Pechar Diamond, Robert Bonnie, Elizabeth Rowe, 7/16/2020

“…Nationally, we found that rural voters were less supportive of government oversight of the environment than there urban/suburban counterparts, even controlling for partisanship and other demographics…

“While many rural voters voiced concern about climate change (and particularly its disproportionate impact on rural communities), they were generally reticent to talk about it with their friends and neighbors given the polarization and controversy surrounding the issue. Additionally, climate change ranked as less important than other environmental protection priorities among rural voters…”

Study: Electric Co-ops Could Reap Benefits from Small Hydroelectric Power Projects

National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Derrill Holly, June 2020

“Electric cooperatives could gain access to more renewable energy by investing in small-scale hydroelectric power to support the modernization of irrigation districts and public water systems, according to a new NRECA study. …”

What is ANTIFA? Why is Trump trying to designate it a terrorist organization in the wake of George Floyd’s death?

Washington Post, Amber Phillips, 6/9/2020
“… ANTIFA is short for Anti-Fascists. It’s pronounced ‘an TEE fuh.’

“Think of them as radical anti-Fascists who want to take matters into their own hands, said Mark Bray, an historian at Rutgers University, and author of Antifa. The Anti-Fascist Handbook. …”

You are probably spreading misinformation. Here’s how to stop

Washington Post, Geoffrey Fowler, 6/6/2020

“Everyone knows you shouldn’t feed a troll… To avoid being taken advantage of, we need to learn their ways – and learn some new techniques of our own to challenges what we see on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Reddit, and Nextdoor….”

Understanding Rural Attitudes Toward the Environment and Conservation in America

Duke University, Nicholas Institute, Robert Bonnie, Emily Pechar Diamond, Elizabeth Rowe, 5/20

“…(1) The rural-urban divide is real but it’s not a divide about who cares more about the environment…
“(2) Rural Americans share core values and strong place identify that shapes their perspectives on environmental conservation…
“(3) Attitudes about government are a fundamental driver of the urban/rural divide on the environment….”

Democracy Grief Is Real

by (2019) for The New York Times

James Comey: The truth is finally out. The FBI fulfilled its mission.

by James Comey (2019) for The Washington Post