In a new feature for The Daily Yonder, researcher Thomas Gomes at Carolina Demography investigated a question that has plagued government agencies and locals for years. What exactly is “rural”, and how should we define it? With different definitions from different quarters, the struggle to make one all-encompassing definition continues to this day, with no real resolution in sight.

From the Yonder: “An analysis from the Rural Health Research Project at UNC-Chapel Hill found that at least 181 rural hospitals have closed or stopped in-patient services nationwide since 2005.  We also see a gap in job availability and wages: Analysis from the Agricultural Policy Review at Iowa State University found that rural areas had lower monthly labor force participation rates from January 2019 through May 2020. They attribute this to a variety of factors, including “differing employment opportunities, age structure, [and] gender norms.”

The  Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture notesFrom its post-recession low, in 2010, to 2017, rural wage and salary employment has grown at an average annual rate of 0.5 percent, compared to 1.8 percent in urban areas.””

To read the rest of the story, click here.