Rural counties — particularly in the Midwest and Northeast of the U.S. — are losing people due to higher death rates than birth rates and more people moving away than moving in. The outlook: The 2020 census is likely to show the extent of this drastic trend. "Barring a significant reversal in the next few years," Richard Fry of the Pew Research Center tells Axios, "the share of the population living in rural counties will be less than it was in 2010 ... Rural clout in Congress and the electoral college will be diminished."By the numbers: Overall, non-metro areas increased in population between 2000 and 2015, but a majority of rural counties saw their populations dwindle, including 54% of rural counties in the Northeast and 68% of those in the Midwest, according to a study by Pew Research.Yes, but: Not all rural communities are dying. For example, Williams County and McKenzie County, in North Dakota, saw the largest population increases between 2010 and 2017 due to jobs created by the introduction of fracking.
New Census Bureau population estimates for counties and metropolitan areasconfirm that after concentrating in big cities and major metro areas during the first part of this decade, Americans are spreading out again into suburbs, exurbs, and smaller towns and rural areas.The new numbers, which track annual population trends through July 2018, indicate that for the first time this decade, the nation’s three largest metropolitan areas—New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago—all lost population. At the same time, outer suburban, exurban, and non-metropolitan counties nationwide registered renewed growth. Although there are some exceptions in growing parts of the country, the latest data reveal that broad-based population “concentration” toward large urban areas in the early 2010s was an aberration related to the post-recession economy and housing crunch.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office has received nearly 20 complaints of alleged puppy scams since 2017, including two reported so far in 2019. The money lost can be significant. Consumers reported losing as much as $1,200 to scammers who were reportedly selling pets online, according to a 2018 report by the Better Business Bureau. In one case, a victim lost $5,000. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, at the Michigan Humane Society in Detroit on Thursday, said many consumers do not realize they may be doing business online with “puppy con artists.”
The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit aimed at conserving land and water, is acquiring 100,000 acres of forest split between southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee. It will be one of the largest land conservation and ecological restoration projects for the organization in the Central Appalachians, according to a news release.It will double the amount of Kentucky acreage the organization has protected, either through acquisition or conservancy easements that prevent certain development of the land.
A recent New York Times opinion piece suggested that no one knows how stop the undermining of rural America from economic forces. While these forces have driven a growing divide between urban and rural communities, we can’t allow the past or the scale of the challenge deter from incremental progress or big ideas.It is time to have a serious and thoughtful discussion about the issues that are affecting small towns across this country. In an era of fragmentation, isolation and divisiveness, it is easy to discount rural communities and the people who live in them. First, we must first understand two things: Rural America is not monolithic. Historically, people and talent have flowed between rural and urban regions.To get away from the disruptive and unproductive rhetoric about rural America, we must change our mindset, and consider that this conversation is not a case of urban vs rural.
The so-called bomb cyclone that brought heavy snow, blizzard conditions and major flooding to the Midwest in March landed with a resounding meteorological “ka-boom!” and became one of two billion-dollar weather and climate disasters this year. The other was a severe storm that struck the Northeast, Southeast and Ohio Valley in late February. And it’s only April.
Federal programs are critical for helping those with low incomes make ends meet. But not all such programs are equally effective at reducing poverty, nor do they benefit all of those in poverty uniformly. In this brief, we explore the extent to which rural and urban residents access five social programs—Social Security, disability benefits, federal and state cash assistance, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)— and the effect of these programs individually and collectively in bringing family incomes closer to the poverty threshold.After accounting for all resources and necessary expenditures (see Box 1), 12.9 percent of rural and 14.3 percent of urban residents are poor. Although their incomes remain below the SPM poverty threshold, more than seven in ten people living in poverty report income from at least one of the five types of programs examined here (Figure 1). The reach of each program varies by place type; for instance, poor rural residents are more likely to receive SNAP than their urban counterparts, who are more likely to receive the EITC.
Last year, President Donald Trump pardoned the ranchers, ending the jail time they were still serving for lighting wildland fires that endangered federal firefighters. Then, in January, then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reissued their grazing permit, and the Hammonds returned to ranching. On April 9, the BLM released a new environmental assessment for grazing on the Hammond Allotment, one of the largest of several the family uses in the high desert of eastern Oregon, where rolling hills are broken by rocky outcroppings. The BLM says cattle have not grazed the land for five years because the ranchers’ permits weren’t renewed in 2014.After years without grazing the allotment has become a wildfire risk, and locals have sent letters to the BLM, voicing concern. The agency’s plan would authorize the Hammonds to graze cattle to help reduce that risk. In many ways, it comes as the anticlimax to decades of disputes between the Hammonds and federal land managers. Facilitated by Trump’s pardon last year, it represents a return to business as usual in an area where ranching interests have significant sway over land-management policies.
Petting zoos could be a breeding ground for drug-resistant superbugs after a study found more than one in 10 animals carrying at least one strain of bacteria capable of withstanding multiple important antibiotics. Israeli researchers collected samples from 228 animals across eight randomly chosen petting zoos, and concluded they were “reservoirs” for microbes that could easily spread from children to vulnerable relatives.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed into law a bill that bars local governments from establishing so-called right-to-work zones, another rebuke to his Republican predecessor, who blocked similar legislation as he battled with Democratic lawmakers over his pro-business, union-weakening agenda.