Training and Employing our Older Rural Workforce

Approximately 46 million people, or roughly 16% of the U.S. population, currently live in rural areas. Rural communities tend to be older than their urban counterparts – 20% of people who live in rural areas are age 65 years or older, compared to 16% in metro areas.

Older workers in rural communities face unique employment challenges because of population decline, lack of broadband access, child care and housing availability. Workers living in rural areas also continue to experience shifts in the skills needed to find employment. While agriculture, forestry, and mining remain important sectors in some rural areas, service and retail industries have accounted for the majority of job growth in rural America over the past few decades. Industrial shifts continue as new industries are attracted to rural communities. As of 2021, for example, clean energy jobs had grown to account for more than 1% of all jobs located in rural America.

There is 2% of the rural population actually working on a farm.

Dee Davis, President and Founder of the Center for Rural Strategies, speaking at the Center’s 2018 Conference