Rural America Is Not A Monolith

But changing the narrative for its own sake isn’t good enough; the major goal must be to inspire action that addresses the structural inequities rural communities of color face. There must also be resources and policies directed towards their specific challenges.

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Zoom Towns are not the answer

Zoom towns are not an answer

But it’s dangerous to think that Zoom Towns on their own will actually create inclusive and sustainable rural economies. Economic success is not just an infusion of money and people parachuting in. An influx of wealthy residents without a connection to their new communities could reify social inequalities, creating the same types of economic segregation too often seen in the current metro tech hubs.

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The Benefits of Fiber-To-The Home Networks

fiber to the home

When rural communities decide to work on expanding local broadband, they have to decide what kind of network best meets the community’s needs. They often see a tradeoff between performance and cost. But in most situations, we actually don’t think communities need to compromise. Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) networks have the fastest speeds, the highest quality connectivity, and often the lowest costs in the long run.

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The Power of Capital in Rural Entrepreneurship

This capital gap has real consequences: Rural entrepreneurship rates have fallen significantly, standing at just 12.2% in the 2010s compared to 20% in the 1980s. And without the power of entrepreneurship to spark economic growth, rural economies overall have struggled as innovation has concentrated in major urban hubs.

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A look back on two years of the Rural Innovation Initiative

Since its launch in 2019, we’ve onboarded 2 cohorts of the Rural Innovation Initiative, with a total of 19 participants. We are deeply proud of the impact it has had on small towns all across the country, and our experience has shown that when rural communities have access to the expertise of an outside organization with national resources like CORI and RISI, they can transform ideas into actionable local benefits.

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CORI’s Employment Impact Update: July 2020

CORI Employment Impact Update

While the vast majority of pandemic-related coverage has focused on dense urban areas, smaller towns across the country have also felt deep health and economic shocks. Each month in our Employment Impact Update, we share key findings, trends, detailed maps and analysis based on BLS monthly employment data to help you understand what’s happening to rural economies.

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The Rural Edge: Small Town, Wide Network


Often, as rural people, we underestimate our talent, or have imposter syndrome. We think there’s not a space for a rural entrepreneur or a small business, or no opportunity to scale. But when we’re persistent, when we actively build a community of people who can help strengthen and grow and fine tune a brand, we can succeed, it may take time, but I do believe it is possible.

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