Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Economic Status of Rural America in the Trump Era

Goetz, Stephen and Partridge, Mark and Stephens, Heather (2017): The Economic Status of Rural America in the Trump Era.

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To set the stage for future policies aimed at supporting economic prosperity in rural areas, we review the current economic conditions of rural America and the current literature. Rural America is often characterized as a uniform, distressed place where agriculture dominates. In fact, rural America is quite diverse with some regions doing well economically. In some areas, labor-saving technologies have reduced the workforce in many manufacturing and resource-dependent industries. However, integration with urban areas has weakened the economic divide between urban and some rural areas, while natural amenities have boosted the fortune of others. There is also evidence that homegrown enterprises can support growth even in the most remote, distressed regions. Policies to enhance growth should recognize the unique features of each place or region. Federal policies also need to strike a better balance between the farm sector and the much larger nonfarm rural economy that typically has been shortchanged; and such policies need to be rigorously evaluated.

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