A study released the eight Democratic members on the congressional Joint Economic Committee relies on data showing where rural areas are lagging their urban counterparts and what policy solutions might close gaps.
The report, Investing in Rural America, looks at several aspects of the rural economy including infrastructure, family financial security, housing, clean energy and public lands, health care, and agriculture.
Rural Americans make up 14% of the U.S. population (46 million residents), while 72% of the nation’s total land areas are considered rural.
According to FCC data cited in the report, more than one-third of rural residents in 21 states still don’t have access to fast downloads, inhibiting economic development in sparsely populated areas.
States have wide disparities in their number of rural health centers. For example, Wyoming only has three rural health centers -- about one for every 193,000 residents.
The report also said rural communities are well-positioned to lead in clean-energy infrastructure. Ninety-nine percent of wind projects are in rural areas.