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Image: Jeff Frey, Brainerd Oct. 2009 Street view Blandin Fd Brainerd 0028

Infrastructure & Services

Download Infrastructure & Services Report (PDF)

A healthy community is a place where all people can

  • Meet their needs: economic, social, physical, cultural, and spiritual.
  • Work together for the common good.
  • Participate in create their future.

A community’s health is made up of many separate but inter-related dimensions. Rural Pulse 2016 breaks down rural Minnesotans’ perceptions of a healthy community by nine dimensions.

One of the nine dimensions is Infrastructure and Services, where the community has adequate infrastructure, and all people have access to essential services.

Essential and Basic Services

About four in five rural residents (79%) believe that their community offers equal access to essential services, while 17 percent do not.

Women and those ages 18 to 24 are the least likely to agree that all sectors within their rural community are equally served.

Residents in Southeast, West Central and Central Minnesota are the most satisfied with community service offerings. Those in the Northwest had the most significant decline in service satisfaction since 2013 (down 20%).

Internet Access

Nearly two-thirds (64%) feel their community does an agreeable job at improving access to the internet. Twenty-eight percent disagree. Urban area residents are slightly more likely to feel internet access has improved.

Again, rural residents overall, regardless of region, are less likely than those surveyed in 2013 to feel satisfied with improved internet access in their area, with the West Central and Southwest regions displaying the sharpest declines (27% and 25% respectively).


While about three-quarters (74%) of rural Minnesotans at large agree that there is sufficient housing in their community, 22 percent are concerned about adequate availability.

Those in Central Minnesota and the Southeast are the most likely to feel positive about adequate housing in their community. Those in the Southwest region showed the largest decline in housing satisfaction from 2013 findings (down 13%).

Roads and Public Transportation

While 72 percent of rural Minnesotans agree that their community ensures good roads and other infrastructure, a quarter of those surveyed expressed concern about such.

While those in the Northwest, Southeast and Central regions are the most likely to feel positive about road infrastructure in their community, West Central and Northeast residents are the most likely to disagree.

Public transportation is a concern for more than two in five rural Minnesotans. While just over half (55%) agree that their community provides adequate transportation opportunities such as buses and trains, 42 percent do not feel that this is the case. Urban area residents are much more likely than those in rural Minnesota (77% urban, 55% rural) to feel they have access to adequate transportation options.

Rural residents overall, regardless of region, are less likely than those surveyed in 2013 to feel satisfied with public transportation options, with those in the Southwest showing the steepest decline in satisfaction (down 25%).

Caring for the Elderly

Most (83%) rural residents say that they have confidence in their community’s ability to provide services for the elderly, while 11 percent do not agree.

Rural Pulse 2016
Back to Rural Pulse 2016 Home  ·  Authored by Russell Herder. Published July 2016.
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