Is rural America in a worse state than inner cities?

Appley's picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 551

For whatever reason I thought about this thread that I came across a few weeks back while I was reading this article.

Wages are falling and jobs are moving to cities. People in rural America are not able to follow where the jobs are (unless you live close enough to a major city). To top it off, rural America is the main scene of the opioid epidemic in the US at the moment... which has also lead to an increase in crime in these areas. With the US being a knowledge-based economy, it's been said over and over that the best way of improving one's life is through a college education (namely the technical skills and professional network that comes with college). Could the lack of college educated people be the main problem?

Coffeyville officials said the area's problem isn't a lack of jobs--it's a shortage of qualified workers. After Amazon said it would close, economic-development leaders held an employment fair expecting to get up to 600 job seekers. Fewer than 100 showed up ...

Or maybe not??

In the late 1990s, convinced that technology would allow companies to shift back-office jobs to small towns, former Utah Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt pitched outposts in his state to potential employers. But companies were turned off by the idea of having to visit and maintain offices in such locations,

Now at a quick glance, the problems rural America has been facing in the past few years seem to parallel problems found in inner cities (although to a lesser severity I would imagine). But since life in rural areas is not the same as inner cities, perhaps the two problems can't/shouldn't be approached the same.

Although federal and state antipoverty programs were not limited to urban areas, they often failed to address the realities of the rural poor. The 1996 welfare overhaul put more city dwellers back to work, for example, but didn't take into account the lack of public transportation and child care that made it difficult for people in small towns to hold down jobs,

I'm curious on some of your thoughts on the situation with rural US. They were brought into the limelight during the recent presidential campaign, but have faded into the background.

What I'm wondering is, how outrageous is the claim that rural US is the new 'inner city'? Are there enough factors in rural US's economic problem for the problem to accelerate to something really ugly in the near future?

Comments (3)

May 26, 2017

It is an outrageous claim.

May 26, 2017

How did 'inner city' ever become a term? I mean TriBeCa and the Upper East Side are in the middle of a city, yet Jamaica, Queens is not. It's sort of a weird euphemism for what people really mean and I'm not really sure why people wouldn't say 'poor black neighborhoods' (or PBNs or PAANs) instead of 'inner cities', when that's what is really meant and both speaker and listener know it. Very strange. Especially when most of the 'inner cities' are not near the inner part of the city.

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May 26, 2017