By Doug Farquhar
Rural America is home to 46 million people and more than 70% of the nation’s land. Yet much of it is struggling—financially, educationally, demographically and in access to health care, the nation’s rural areas have lagged the rest of the country.
State legislatures recognize these struggles and have responded with policies, initiatives and legislation designed to improve the lives of those who live in rural America.
Legislators have convened task forces, established commissions and developed and enacted legislation to improve connectivity to broadband, increase access to health care, improve rural education and provide economic incentives for rural areas.
NCSL has identified state legislative efforts to address the challenges facing rural communities.
The Georgia House convened the Rural Development Council. New York has a long-standing Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. The legislature in Pennsylvania supports the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Wisconsin established the Legislative Rural Initiative to address rural concerns. Legislative committees on rural issues have been convened in California, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia.
In addition, NCSL has gathered its resources regarding rural America. NCSL has projects related to rural communities, rural economic health, rural health, rural education, access to broadband in rural areas and agriculture. These resources offer insight into state policies and programs developed to address the complex issues facing rural communities.
For more information on NCSL’s rural efforts, contact:
Doug Farquhar directs the Environmental Health Program at NCSL.