Rural America is going to have to do a better job providing services to younger people if it hopes to thrive. That’s one of the findings from the 2007 Nebraska Rural Poll. While the survey focuses on only one state, it provides a snapshot of what many other rural areas across the country are likely experiencing.
At least 70% feel positive about fire protection, parks and recreation, library services and religious organizations. However, one-third expressed dissatisfaction with entertainment, shopping, restaurants, streets and roads, arts/cultural activities and local government.
Only 23% are satisfied with mental health services – down from 34% in
1997. Only 31% are satisfied with day care services – down from 51% 10
Younger respondents were more likely to be dissatisfied with their
community’s services. Sixty percent of respondents (19 to 39 years
old) were dissatisfied with entertainment options, while only 28% of
eople over 65 were displeased.
“That doesn’t bode well for retaining as well as attracting younger
individuals and families,” says Bruce Johnson, an agricultural
economist who’s part of the Rural Poll team. “It’s an evolving rural
population, and certain amenities or rural areas are going to take on
Progressive Farmer, November 2007, page 12