Many of the nation's current pathologies
are centered in the majority-white
population of rural America, heavily hit by the
Opioid crisis and facing falling populations, job
losses and rising suicide rates, Axios' Stef Kight
Why it matters: The malaise
and discontent that President Trump taps into
goes beyond the racism of the past few weeks,
and includes anger at a changing world and
frustration at dwindling opportunities close to
These trends are further
entrenching the rural-urban schism that came to
light in the 2016 election.
The big picture: Political and
economic power is shifting to the cities, and 20% of
the population — 46 million people — is being left
behind in the middle of America.
These communities face
increasingly higher barriers to education,
wealth and health.
And if you're African American or
Hispanic, your chances of success and
survival at every turn are even worse.
Let’s say you were born, grew
up, and now reside in rural America:
Throughout your life, you
have been more susceptible to poverty, lower
education, illness and even death than your
As a kid, chances are, you
farther away from a doctor or hospital and
got less exercise.
You were more likely to
live in a school desert, having to travel long
distances to make it to school.
did get a
college degree. You'd likely end up so saddled
with debt, that returning to your rural hometown
wouldn't be an option if you hoped to get a job
that would enable you to pay it off, according
Federal Reserve research.
As an adult, you’re more likely
obesity, mental health issues,
cancer and Opioid addiction.
You are more likely to know
who took their own lives.
If you keep working in your
hometown, your job is more likely to be taken
over by AI, according to a Brookings Institution
study — especially if you live in Indiana,
Kentucky, South Dakota, Arkansas or Iowa.
Your community's economy
still hasn't fully recovered from the 2008
recession, according to
As you get older, you are more
likely to die a preventable death, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you do make it into old age,
you may not have a place to
grow old near your friends, family and the
place you called home your whole life.
What's next: Technological
advancements such as 5G and automated vehicles won't
directly make life harder for rural America, but
instead will fuel inequality by making life that
much easier for urban America.
The rural-urban divide
continue to play a central role in politics and
elections for the next several years — unless
and until rural America's population declines
enough that their political power dwindles.