Rural America in the Trump Era

Thanks to the excellent website and newsfeed, The Daily Yonder, I recently got acquainted with an equally excellent research paper, “The Economic Status of Rural America in the Trump Era,” by Stephan Goetz, Mark Partridge and Heather Stephens.   There’s a lot of loose talk about the state of rural America in the aftermath of Trump’s election victory.   However, there’s not a lot of rigorous analysis of what’s happening with the rural economy and the key ingredients to rural prosperity.  After all, we wouldn’t see a horrific Trump Administration budget plan that guts rural and economic development programs if his team truly understood the current state of the rural economy.    This new research paper provides a deep dive into what’s happening in rural regions.   The general picture isn’t great.  Economic integration between urban and rural places is declining, and the urban-rural economic divide is growing.  However, at the same time, we are getting a better sense of  what works in rural economic development.  The paper includes a good review of policy options, and the basic message is  pretty clear:  Build from Within.   Effective policies will build on regional partnerships (similar to those underway via the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority), supports development of local entrepreneurs, and seeks to diversify local economies with a mix of agriculture and other sectors as well.