Redesign required: Principles for reimagining federal rural policy in the COVID-19 era

14 Apr 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is testing America’s resilience. The rapidly accelerating economic fallout makes concrete the risks for a national economy built on the success of just a few key economic centers. When the nation turns to the work of recovery, our goal must be to expand the number and breadth of healthy communities, jump-starting a more equitable and diverse landscape of resilient local and regional economies. The relief funds already allocated and being contemplated by Congress must be designed to enable every community to thrive.

This includes rural and tribal places—and will require a reimagining of the federal policies intended to support them. Early analyses indicate that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities of color, putting health, economic, and racial disparities in America on full display. The virus is now reaching into rural communities and Native American nations where, in many places, the compounding forces of race, poverty, and geographic isolation hits hard. County-level maps are showing an alarming rate per capita in many less densely populated communities throughout the United States.

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