Why Rural Matters 2009: State and Regional Challenges and Opportunities

Last Updated: October 30, 2009

By Jerry Johnson, Policy Research and Analysis Manager and Marty Strange, Policy Director
Why Rural Matters 2009

Complete Report
(PDF/2.8 MB)
(PDF/4 pages)
Complete Narrative
(PDF/30 pages)
Rural 900 Map
(PDF/1 page)
Press Release
(PDF/2 pages)
Why Rural Matters 2009: State and Regional Challenges and Opportunities is the fifth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states.

While it is the fifth in a series, this report is not simply an updating of data from earlier editions. On the contrary, from one report to the next, we have deliberately altered the statistical indicators we use and the gauges we construct in order to call attention to the variability and complexity of rural education.

Our intent in these reports is not—as it is in many state-by-state analyses—to compare states in terms of their differing rates of progress toward an arbitrary goal. Rather, our intent is (1) to provide information and analyses that highlight the priority policy needs of rural public schools and the communities they serve, and (2) to describe the complexity of rural contexts in ways that can help policymakers better understand the challenges faced by their constituencies and formulate policies that are responsive to those challenges.

In 2006–07 (the school year used in this report), 9,063,790 public school students were enrolled in rural school districts—19% of the nation's total public school enrollment. Meeting the needs of more than 9 million children is a challenge that demands and deserves the attention of a nation. It is also a challenge that demands looking at issues from multiple perspectives in order to develop informed understandings that move beyond overly simplistic notions about rural schools and the communities they serve.

(click on your state to see where it ranks and view the state page from the report)
Select a state.. Delaware New Jersey Maryland New Jersey Delaware Rhode Island Hawaii Alaska Hawaii Hawaii Michigan Michigan Virginia Oklahoma Kentucky Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Idaho Nevada Arizona Utah New Mexico Texas Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Wyoming Colorado Alabama Wisconsin Illinois Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Florida Georgia South Carolina North Carolina Tennessee West Virginia Indiana Ohio New York Pennsylvania Maine Oregon Washington Montana Minnesota Iowa California Mississippi Maryland Vermont New Hampshire Massachusetts