While it often seems that America’s rural/urban divide has never been greater—a point reinforced by large geographic disparities in support for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election—it is also the case that big cities and rural communities are increasingly interdependent, both economically and socially. This was the starting point for the webinar hosted by the Academy and SAGE Publications on November 29, 2017. The webinar came out of the July 2017 volume of The ANNALS, edited by Dan Lichter of Cornell University and Jim Ziliak of the University of Kentucky. Mark Partridge of Ohio State University and Shannon Monnat of Syracuse University also participated.
The webinar was kicked off by volume editor Dan Lichter, discussing how the volume came to be and its goal of debunking common myths. Namely, the volume aims to show that urban and rural America are closely linked economically and that geographic boundaries are fluid. Jim Ziliak addressed the economic aspects of the rural/urban interface, including the correlation in trends of wages and incomes in rural and urban communities. For example, the employment trends of noncollege educated populations in both rural and urban communities are similarly declining.
Mark Partridge focused on the rural economy as it moves along a continuum. Aspects of urban growth such as increased commute times, for example, have an economic impact on rural America as well.
Shannon Monnat summarized the volume and illustrated how the problems that many communities face are similar along the rural/urban continuum.
More than 120 people across academia and government participated in the webinar. You can view the archived webinar here.