Three ways to elevate the economic portrait of rural California

Thursday, November 08, 2018

When California became the fifth largest economy in the world earlier this year, experts attributed the state’s economic success to the financial services, real estate and technology industries based largely in urban and coastal regions. Left out of the economic success story were many of the state’s vast rural regions.

California’s rural areas are some of the most beautiful and bountiful in the world. The economies there are heavily based on natural resources and “working landscapes” that benefit the entire state. These regions provide valuable resources and commodities for all Californians, including food, water and open spaces.

But many of these regions face higher poverty and unemployment rates than their urban and suburban counterparts, and struggle with a lack of well-paying jobs, limited health care services, and weakened infrastructure such as access to clean drinking water and water treatment, broadband service, efficient transportation and other critical necessities. With small populations and large geographic distances, the assets and contributions of California’s rural regions are often overlooked and not fully appreciated.

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