#150 – Inside Our Industry – Survey of Rural Challenges 2023 Results

Posted on | Inside Our Industry

Agracel’s mission is “To be the premier industrial real estate developer for build-to-suits, acquisitions, and strategic investments in the secondary and tertiary markets, creating value for communities, companies, and stakeholders.” With that in mind, we thought we would share some results from our friends Becky McCray and Deb Brown’s Survey of Rural Challenges 2023, as that is where the majority of our developments take place.

Survey of Rural Challenges 2023 Results

What the survey found

  • Rural people were twice as likely to say they were optimistic about their communities’ future as negative.
  • Lack of housing, inactive downtowns and population losses continued to rank the highest as rural community challenges. Lack of childcare debuted in the top 5 challenges.
  • The ongoing lack of workers, support services and usable buildings, along with stiff competition from online businesses and marketing ranked the highest as challenges to rural small businesses.

Other preconception-changing results

  • Defying stereotyped stories focused on poverty, crime and drug abuse as the primary rural challenges, rural people continually ranked these near the bottom as community challenges.
  • Rural businesses innovate. Far from stuck in their ways and out of date, the most common business assets listed were innovative ideas and up-to-date marketing techniques.
  • Although rural economic development often centers around jobs, it was one of the least-mentioned challenges in this survey. Rural people mentioned available jobs or good jobs as often as mentioning a lack of jobs or low paying jobs.
  • The lack of small business lending has received a lot of publicity, but rural people said usable buildings are harder to find than loans, a continuing trend from previous surveys.
  • Rural small business owners showed little or no interest in business plan assistance and pitch competitions, yet these types of assistance continue to be commonly offered to rural businesses. Rural business people were more likely to say that they need help with marketing, starting a business, or receiving economic development incentives on par with those offered to recruit out-of-town firms.

Those owning businesses and living in rural America still tend to be optimistic about their community’s future. This is good news for Agracel as we continue to develop in these markets.

Full survey.