2019 Rural Pulse™ Snapshot: Infrastructure and Services
Rural Pulse™ is a research study commissioned by the Grand Rapids-based Blandin Foundation to gain a real-time snapshot of the concerns, perceptions and priorities of rural Minnesota residents. It includes comparative findings from urban Minnesotans and identifies trends within significant, complex subject areas including the economy, education, employment and quality of life. Results are also analyzed as they relate to nine separate but inter-related dimensions of a community’s health: life-long learning, inclusion, recreational and artistic opportunities, environmental stewardship, infrastructure and services, safety and security, community leadership, economic opportunity, spirituality and wellness.
Infrastructure and Services is…
One of the Nine Dimensions of a Healthy Community, infrastructure and services is defined as: the community has adequate infrastructure and all people have access to essential services.
Nearly seven in 10 (68%) rural Minnesotans felt their community does a good job at improving access to the internet. Twenty-three percent disagreed.
Regions showing the largest increase since 2016 in how they feel their community is doing with internet access were the Southwest and Northwest.
About two-thirds (65%) of cultural/racial residents in rural Minnesota felt their community does a good job at improving access to the internet. Twenty-seven percent disagreed.
While nearly seven in 10 (68%) rural Minnesotans believed that there is affordable housing in their community, 27 percent were concerned about adequate availability.
Urban residents disagreed to an even greater degree (35%).
Those in the Southwest and Central regions were more likely to have felt positively about affordable housing in their community. Those in the northern part of the state showed the highest disagreement.
A significant 38 percent of cultural/racial residents felt affordable housing is not sufficient, compared to one in four (26%) Whites. A little more than half (55%) felt it is adequately provided.
Roads and Public Transportation
Eight in 10 rural Minnesotans agreed that their community ensures good roads and other infrastructure. Some 19 percent disagreed. Urban respondents had similar results.
While those in the Northwest, West Central, Southwest and Central regions were the most likely to have felt positively about road infrastructure in their community, only about two-thirds of Northeast residents agreed.
Seven in 10 (69%) cultural/racial respondents agreed that their community ensures good roads and other infrastructure, compared to 82 percent of rural Whites. Some 29 percent disagreed.
When asked if they feel their community provides accessible public transportation for all, including the disabled, a quarter (24%) of rural Minnesotans did not agree. About seven in 10 (72%) believed that their community provides adequate transportation opportunities, a 27-point upswing from 2016 survey findings.
Rural residents overall, regardless of region, were more likely than those surveyed in 2016 to have communicated satisfaction with public transportation availability, with those in the Northwest (+24%), West Central (+20%) and Southwest (+19%) regions showing the highest improvement.
Twenty-eight percent of cultural/racial respondents disagreed that their rural communities provide sufficient public transportation; seven in 10 felt they do.
Caring for the Elderly
Most (84%) rural residents said that they believe their communities provide adequate elder care, while 12 percent did not agree. Urban respondents were slightly less agreeable (74%).
Sixty-three percent of rural Minnesotans surveyed felt their community provides sufficient childcare options. A quarter (24%) did not agree; 13 percent were unsure.
Northwest region respondents were the least likely to have agreed that childcare availability is adequate.
Slightly more than half (55%) of cultural/racial survey participants felt that their community is doing a good job providing available childcare. Thirty-one percent did not agree; 14 percent were unsure.
About Rural Pulse
Rural Pulse™ is a research study commissioned by Blandin Foundation to gain a real-time snapshot of the concerns, perceptions and priorities of rural Minnesota residents. It has been conducted periodically since 1998, and was last conducted in 2016. It includes comparative findings from urban Minnesotans, and identifies trends within significant, complex subject areas including the economy, education, employment and quality of life. For this study, 1,068 telephone interviews were conducted with rural Minnesotans. View the full report at www.RuralPulse.org.