As fire chief in Kingsburg, a small town in California’s Central Valley, Tim Ray has done more than battle blazes in the past few years. Actual fires here are relatively few, in fact. These days, Ray, a trim 52-year-old with clipped moustache and gentle eyes, oversees a kind of volunteer medical transportation service, hustling patients from this idyllic town—settled by Swedish immigrants in the 1870s and still bedecked with “Välkommen” welcome signs—as far as 20 miles away, to a hospital in Fresno.
While the U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that rural incomes lag behind pay growth for urban residents, policy experts now say that incomes in rural America in fact grew in 2015.
While rural residents across the nation continue to find jobs, the pace at which they’re doing so still lags significantly behind urban employment gains, according to the Daily Yonder’s analysis.
Nearly a decade after the housing market crisis and collapse, home ownership still remains out of reach for many Americans. The demand for rentals has shot up, and unsurprisingly so have rents, creating an economic catch-22.
Income inequality has become a trending topic in recent years. A 2014 NPR report, 40 Years of Income Inequality in America, tracks household income in America from 1975 to 2010, showing a dramatic incline in income growth among the 95th percentile between 1995 and 2000.