The economic status of rural America in the president trump era and beyond

Stephan J. Goetz, Mark D. Partridge, Heather M. Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


To set the stage for future research aimed at developing public policies that support economic prosperity in rural areas, we review the current economic conditions of rural America and the current literature. Rural America is often characterized as a uniform, distressed place where agriculture dominates. In fact, rural America is diverse, with many regions doing well economically. In some areas, labor-saving technologies have reduced the workforce in manufacturing and resource-dependent industries. However, integration with urban areas has weakened the economic divide between urban and some rural areas, while natural amenities have boosted the fortunes of others. There is also evidence that homegrown enterprises can support growth even in the most remote, distressed regions. To support economic growth, policies should recognize the unique features of each place or region and balance the farm sector with the larger nonfarm rural economy. Economists are well-positioned to provide research-based evidence of what works, as well as rigorous evaluation of new polices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-118
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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