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Red Rural, Blue Rural Fact Sheet

August 5, 2015

Political commentators routinely treat rural America as an undifferentiated bastion of strength for Republicans. In fact, rural America is a deceptively simple term describing a diverse collection of places encompassing nearly 75 percent of the U.S. land area and 50 million people. Voting trends in this vast area are far from monolithic. Republican presidential candidates have generally done well in rural America, but there are important enclaves of Democratic strength there as well. In "battleground" states, these rural differences may have a significant impact on tightly contested elections.

Community Strength and Economic Challenge: Civic Attitudes and Community Involvement in Rural America

June 7, 2011

In any given year, close to one in three Americans volunteer with a local organization and get involved in various activities that benefit their community. Community leaders and policy makers are interested in levels of community engagement because there is a presumption that a community's civic health can translate into community wealth as a result of local residents working together to improve their community's economic sustainability and quality of life. Although rural Americans are slightly more likely than urban and suburban residents to participate in community activities, not all rural communities demonstrate a similarly high level of community trust and engagement.

Challenges in Serving Rural American Children Through the Summer Food Service Program

June 30, 2010

Outlines barriers to rural implementation of and participation in summer food service programs, including low population density, lack of transportation, and desire or need for children to stay home. Suggests promoting programs through "local champions."

Rural Areas Risk Being Overlooked in 2010 Census

March 1, 2010

Provides an overview of factors that complicate the census in rural areas, including seasonal and temporary employment, vacation homes, and lack of funding; population groups most likely to be undercounted in rural counties; and long-term ramifications.

The Forgotten Fifth: Child Poverty in Rural America

July 15, 2009

Analyzes demographic trends among the one-fifth of poor children who live in rural areas and compares child poverty rates in rural and urban areas. Explores the roles of family structure, employment, and education and the effects of government assistance.

Rural Children Are More Likely to Live in Cohabiting-Couple Households

July 10, 2009

Examines the rise in the percentage of rural children living with cohabiting parents and explores the economic factors behind the trend. Compares the poverty rates, education, and employment of rural and urban cohabiters and considers policy implications.

Grey Gold: Do Older In-migrants Benefit Rural Communities?

December 1, 2008

Older Americans retiring to rural areas quickly integrate in their new communities and bring significant social and intellectual capital to those communities, finds a new issue brief from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. The brief is among the few studies to consider social rather than economic impacts of older in-migration to rural areas. "Of the ten percent of Americans over 60 who moved between counties from 1995 to 2000, a disproportionate share moved to rural communities," says report author Nina Glasgow, a senior research associate in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University. "If this trend continues as more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, older newcomers will continue to have a major impact on some rural areas." Glasgow and co-author David Brown, a Cornell University professor of development sociology, director of the Community and Rural Development Institute and associate director of the Cornell Population Program, note that rural retirement destinations (RRDs) -- a U.S. Department of Agriculture designation for the 274 nonmetropolitan counties that experienced net in-migration of 15 percent or higher among persons 60-plus between 1995 - 2000 -- are one of the only types of nonmetropolitan counties in the country experiencing consistent population growth during the last 30 years. Conducting surveys in 14 RRDs spread across the country, the authors found that concerns about social isolation among older in-migrants were largely unfounded: Older in-migrants quickly became involved in their new communities. Their levels of social integration closely matched those of similarly aged persons who had lived in RRDs for more than 20 years, and by 2005, in-migrants were more likely than longer-term residents to participate in service, social and volunteer activities. Further, one-third of older in-migrants had at least one adult child living within a half-hour drive of their new home (compared to almost 50 percent of longer-term older residents). While many studies have examined the economic impacts of older in-migration, this Carsey brief considered the social impacts of older in-migrants on rural communities. The brief finds that older in-migrants have a positive effect on real estate and construction; provide financial and technical assistance to civic endeavors; and invigorate the cultural scene. "Many of these benefits have associated costs, however," says Brown. "Rising real estate prices can diminish affordable housing, for instance, or older in-migrants who assume positions of community leadership might be insensitive to the traditional ways of doing things." The authors conclude that older in-migration should be seen as neither a burden nor a boon for rural areas but rather as a source of both challenges and opportunities. They recommend that communities can maximize opportunities bypromoting an inclusive environment that encourages high levels of social participation among older residents;creating decision-making processes that include older in-migrants' needs and opinions but do not privilege them above those of longer-term residents; andaddressing both immediate and longer-term needs, such as public transportation and health care, of older in-migrants."The 'grey gold' that older in-migration represents, particularly as Baby Boomers enter older age, should be considered by public officials and community leaders in these RRDs from a balanced perspective," says Glasgow.

Many New Hampshire Jobs Do Not Pay a Livable Wage

October 20, 2008

Two forces are likely to have the greatest impact on the projected availability of livable wage jobs in coming years. The first is the course of the current economic downturn. Table 11 shows the New England Economic Partnership (NEE P) forecast for New Hampshire's unemployment rate from 2008 to 2012. As the table shows, unemployment is projected to increase from 3.7 percent in 2007 to 4.2 percent in 2009, after which it is projected to gradually fall. The latest NEE P forecast predicted a relatively mild economic contraction, which provides some reason for optimism among New Hampshire workers. However, any optimism should be tempered by the fact that the latest forecast was issued before the dramatic stock market decline and at the beginning of the financial crisis.The second major factor impacting the availability of livable wage jobs is the changing composition of New Hampshire's economic base. Between 2000 and 2007, New Hampshire lost 25,400 manufacturing jobs, representing a 25 percent decline in the industry.10 Over the same period, jobs in education, healthcare, retail trade, and leisure and hospitality grew by about the same number of jobs. To the extent New Hampshire continues in this transition from a production-based to a service-based economy, the proportion of livable wage jobs is expected to decline.

Many New Voters Make the Granite State One to Watch in November

October 14, 2008

The voting population of New Hampshire is among the most mobile in the United States. About one-third of the potential voters are new to the state's electoral process since 2000. Both young voters and recent migrants are more likely to identify themselves as Democrats and less likely to identify with Republicans than are established voters. Voter turnover fueled by demographic change is also affecting voter registration, with a growing Democratic base and stable or declining numbers of registered Republicans. We conclude that demographic change has significant implications for the November election.

Profile of New Hampshire's Foreign-born Population

May 29, 2008

New Hampshire, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing an increase in the numbers and diversity of its foreign-born population. The state's foreignborn population has experienced significant changes recently that are different from most other states. Highlights of the report * The percentage of the population that is foreign born in New Hampshire was above the national average in the first half of the 20th century and now it is significantly below the national average. * In the early 2000s -- from a relatively low base -- the state's percentage of foreignborn population has been increasing faster than all but six other states. * Immigrants to New Hampshire come from a wider range of places than is true elsewhere. * New Hampshire's foreign-born population has higher levels of educational attainment and income than the national average. * New Hampshire's foreign-born population is geographically concentrated in Hillsborough County and Manchester. * In the 1990s, New Hampshire had a lower foreign-born growth rate than the national average, but that is changing in the 21st century.

The State of Coos County: Local Perspectives on Community and Change

May 13, 2008

To learn more about how Coos County residents view the changes happening in their communities and the region, the Carsey Institute conducted telephone interviews with more than 1,700 adults in Coos and adjacent Oxford County, Maine in spring and summer 2007. Through about 100 survey questions researchers collected data on residents' experiences of change, their levels of concern about environmental issues, and the key issues they feel their communities are facing. This information is especially timely given the present point of transition in Coos. The survey also provides data on the economic and demographiccharacteristics of the county population, such as marital status, educational attainment, race/ethnicity, age, politics, and household income. The survey data can be used to examine the relationships between demographic factors, and to compare the changing circumstances of subgroups such as newcomers versus long-timers, or low-income versus middle-income and affluent residents. The survey presents a useful opportunity to track change in ways that go beyond the limitations of commonly-used secondary data, and offers a benchmark against which future changes can be measured and assessed.While the results for Coos are discussed at length throughout the report, the figures that display data for Coos as a whole also show data from Oxford County, Maine for purposes of comparison. These comparisons will be more meaningful in the future, when Oxford will function as a "control" county against which change in Coos can be compared, particularly as it relates to new investments, initiatives, and choices made by Coos residents. Where relevant, the Coos population is separated into subgroups according to length of residence, income, and age.

The Changing Faces of New England: Increasing Spatial and Racial Diversity

February 15, 2008

New England's population stood at 14,270,000 in July of 2006, a gain of 347,000 residents since 2000. This gain of 2.5 percent is less than half that of the nation as a whole and lags far behind the fast growing South and West. The modest overall population gain in New England masks sharply contrasting demographic trends within the region.