Document Type

State of the Science Report


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Rural America is a diverse and changing place. Small-town America, the family farm, and the frontier west are images that have long formed the foundation of the rural American dream. Basic rural values that are ingrained in visions of open spaces, picturesque rolling hills, rich farmlands, patchwork waves of grain, and majestic mountains are alive and romanticized in our culture. Yet these popular images mask the reality that rural America is an extremely significant, diverse, and complex part of our society, with resources, problems, and needs that are extensive and largely misunderstood. This paper addresses several key issues and suggests an emerging new rural paradigm to address them.


© 2011 RTC:Rural.

Granting Agency

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research


Our research is supported by grant #H133B080023 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Dept. of Education.

Project Number