Project: Research project

Project Details


This committee is dedicated to addressing rural population issues that matter to policy makers, communities, and local residents. The objectives identified for this proposal come, in part, from information gathered from stakeholders during meetings, workshops, briefings, and field studies held during the past five years. Given the dramatic shifts in rural population patterns and trends associated with the Great Recession, such as the unexpected downturns in migration and fertility rates, we anticipate the emergence of new concerns on the part of stakeholders throughout the country. For this reason, we propose to take a community-engaged approach to finalizing our specific research questions and to integrate extension educators, policy makers, and community groups into our broader research team. Our research will document the realignment of population growth and decline during the periods before, during, and after the Great Recession in the vast expanse of rural America that includes 75 percent of the nation's land area and 51 million of its residents. In so doing, we will contribute to the developments of more informed policy to address the needs of the people, places and institutions of nonmetropolitan America. Rural residents populate every region of the country, from counties bordering suburbs to remote and isolated areas. Rural areas encompass agricultural regions as well as areas where workers depend mostly on manufacturing or tourism. They include prosperous areas with rapidly growing populations as well as chronically depressed locales experiencing population decline. Accordingly, our research plan is national in scope but employs a comparative perspective, and relies on a multidisciplinary research team located throughout the U.S. to ensure familiarity with diverse rural demographic, social, and economic settings. The project's primary goal continues to be the production of this type of policy-relevant research that informs users about current demographic trends and their implications for rural policy. We aim for broad readership among policy makers and plan to continue our strong record of outreach. Our work does not evaluate the operation of particular public policies or practices, but it does provide essential contextual information that helps policymakers decide where public intervention is most needed, and the alternative forms such actions might take.

Effective start/end date10/1/129/30/17


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture


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