In 1790, more than 90% of the American population lived in rural locations. Today that number has drastically fallen sitting at a dwindling 15%. Despite the steep decline in the rural population, the number of Americans living in these areas totals around 46 million lives. In addition, the population is still increasing with the area seeing a 3.1% growth between 2000 and 2015.
Another fascinating fact about the rural population is that it is growing increasingly diverse. According to a recent Salon article “Minorities represent 21 percent of the rural population, but produced 83 percent of the growth between 2000 and 2010. Hispanics are particularly important to this growing rural diversity… The rural minority child population has grown significantly recently, while the number of non-Hispanic white children diminished.” Despite its growth and need for directed policy, it is still the forgotten section of America. Because of this, legislation can sometimes harm the area as a smaller population can mean less profits and thus neglect. Despite this, rural America “provides most of its food, raw materials, drinking water and clean air.” and can have a huge effect on the outcome of Federal, state, and local elections. While urban people live in 1,167 counties, rural people make up the population of 1,976 counties.
The need for solutions for the small but great population is key to the future of America. However, it must also be noted that some of the jobs located in these areas are being phased out despite what some are saying. Developing a pipeline and solution that can carry these populations well into the future is important to help re-establish the middle and upper rural community class in the country.