Besides soybeans and corn, there is very little growth in rural areas these days. They just don’t get their share of prosperity as the metro areas do. I think that is one of the many factors causing distress in America today. Many of the people in rural areas feel like they are paying their taxes but being ignored.
I know I have complained frequently here on my corner about slow Internet speeds in our rural area. My Internet connection hovers between 1 and 2 Mbps while the city 50 miles north has typical speeds of 50 Mbp or more, and with 5G it will soon go to 1,000 Mpbs! It is absolutely possible for AT&T to give us folks in rural areas the speed of our city neighbors but they choose not to do that. There is more profit in the lower hanging fruit in the cities. This is much like the rural electrification of about a hundred years ago, so it is nothing new. As a matter of fact, we still get our electricity for our REMC and it looks like they are the ones who will eventually give us less than pitiful Internet connections. We rural folks’ needs are being ignored!
You have to look at demographics to see this problem you find that the 53 largest metro areas in the country account for 72% of the employment growth. Jobs are simply not going to rural area nor will they likely ever again. When 63% of the population lives in just 3.5% of the area geographical disparity is bound to happen. How do we solve this anguish in rural America? A solution to This problem will go a long way to bridging the red/blue gap.
Small towns continue to erode and most will not likely exist in another twenty years. If they are not within a commutable distance to a metro area where the jobs are they very likely won’t survive much longer. That is just a hardened fact. One of my lifelong hobbies has been traveling in search of America’s roots. During these trips, I have always tried to primarily use State and local highways. That means going through many small towns. I have been through hundreds if not thousands of them and that very fact is causing me to re-think my route options. It is depressing to see a once prosperous small town now nothing more than an empty shell of abandoned buildings and a couple of occupied homes. In the last few trips I have taken, I went interstate highways for a good part of the trip. I think that may be the norm for this year’s trips.
A hundred years ago about 40% of the population worked on farms, now it is less than 2%. That is rightly called progress but it does have its consequences…