Many young and mid-career Americans fall into the financial distress trap in rural communities.
John Fourier

2019-08-01 11:33:00 Thu ET

Many young and mid-career Americans fall into the financial distress trap in rural communities. A recent analysis of 25,800 zip codes for 99% of the U.S. population compares the consecutive periods from 2007-2011 to 2012-2016. The key reasons for U.S. rural distress include a lack of educational attainment, subpar mortgage affordability, unemployment, low income, and stagnant business investment. Many young Americans experience the catch-22 situation with disproportionate student debt, credit card debt, and mortgage delinquency etc. There is no clear path for these less fortunate young Americans to afford moving from the rural areas to more prosperous metropolitan areas. In the absence of high-skill job opportunities, rural communities remain economically subpar places of residence.

About 65% of the U.S. rural population lives east of the Mississippi River, and half of the rural residents are in the south. Education represents the faulty line between prosperous and economically subpar communities. Specifically, prosperous zip codes contain more than 27 million adults with tertiary education, whereas, there are fewer than 5 million adults with equivalent levels of educational attainment in economically subpar communities from Louisiana, New Mexico, and West Virginia to Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Economic inequality continues to be a key socioeconomic issue in America.

 


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