Friday, February 01, 2013

Are your state's rural areas losing political influence like Minnesota's?

Population is concentrated around the Twin Cities.
(Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission)
Here's a story that could probably be replicated in many states: "Rural Minnesota has lost influence on the state’s public and private policy decisions, according to a report by a nonprofit research organization," Tim Marema of the Center for Rural Strategies writes for the center's online publication, the Daily Yonder.

The Center for Rural Policy and Development in St. Peter, Minn., didn't do a lot of fancy, detailed research to reach its conclusion. It simply interviewed about 50 interviews legislators, journalists and business, civic and policy leaders. "It also included an online questionnaire and a review of media coverage," Marema notes.

Here's what should make rural folks in other states worry: The rural share of Minnesota's population hasn't declined as fast as that of the nation as a whole, and was still 27 percent at the 2010 census, way more than the U.S. figure of 16 percent. "Rural advocates from other parts of the United States may be surprised to hear Minnesota leaders talking about rural’s declining influence there," Marema writes, "because the state has a tradition of rural advocacy and organizing." (Read more)

So, who will write up the next state?

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