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What Does Rural America Look Like?

Rural America 2011

Rural america makes one think of small towns and farm land as far as one can see. Rural America is more than just space and size. More than 51 million people live in rural areas. Poverty and unemployment are higher in rural areas. And rural areas are where America's food is grown.

Measures of rural employment trends over the past year were mixed. Nonmetro unemployment fell slowly in 2010 and more rapidly in first-quarter 2011 before leveling off in the second quarter, similar to the national trend. The apparent improvement, however, largely reflects a decline in the labor force participation rate; the percentage of rural adults who were employed has not risen in recent quarters.

For a comparative view of rural America, the USDA publishes Rural America At A Glance. 2009, 2010, and 2011 editions are available.


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