USDA Releases “Rural America at a Glance: 2013 Edition”

November 8, 2013 | General RCAP News

This week, USDA’s Economic Research Service released its annual report on the economic condition of rural America – the 2013 Rural America at a Glance report. The data in this report underscores the challenges of stagnant job growth and persistent poverty faced by many communities across rural America. According to USDA:

  • Rural America shared in the economic recovery following the Great Recession. Unfortunately, job growth has leveled off in rural areas over the past 18 months and rural areas are creating jobs at a slower rate than our cities.
  • Persistent poverty still plagues many rural areas. More than 570 of America’s 703 high-poverty counties are in rural America, with many of these counties experiencing persistently high poverty that lasts several decades.
  • And, rural America has continued to lose population in real terms. Between 2010 and 2012, rural communities saw a drop of more than 44,000 people, which is unprecedented in recent decades.

While we continue to make great strides in rural America, this report is a reminder that there is still much work to be done. Infrastructure generally, and water infrastructure in particular, is a necessary component of economic growth in rural communities. Without reliable water and wastewater services, businesses are typically unable or unwilling to open facilities in rural areas.

Sustainable infrastructure provides rural communities with the foundation upon which economic growth rests, and the release of this report highlights the ongoing need for investment in essential infrastructure and community development in rural America.