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Brief Published: 4 Jun 2018

Urban, Suburban & Rural Americans

In rural areas in the US, 54% of adults identify with or lean towards the Republican party

The US is changing dramatically as its population ages and becomes more diverse. However, these changes are being felt in different ways across the country's urban, suburban and rural communities, according to a report released last month by US-based Pew Research Center. Key findings include:

  • Growing Suburbs: More than 11 million urban and rural residents have migrated to the suburbs, including five million international immigrants. This has resulted in a 16% increase in the suburban population since 2000. This population has grown in age, too: in the suburbs, the 65-plus population has expanded by 39% over the past two decades.
  • Difference in Values: Some 58% of Americans who live in rural areas say that urban dwellers have different values from theirs. However, this difference varies when partisanship is taken into account. Democrats living in suburban and rural areas are far more likely than Republicans to say that urban residents share their values.
  • Politics Divide: Urban and rural Americans have different political views, with 62% of urban adults being or leaning towards being Democrats, while 54% in rural areas identify with or lean towards the Republican party. Differences across community types remain even after taking party identification into account. For example, Republicans who live in rural areas are more likely than Republicans in urban areas to express positive views of US President Donald Trump.
  • Feeling Misunderstood: In both rural and urban areas, around two-thirds of residents believe that those who don't live in similar communities don't understand the problems they face.

For more on the widening divide between urban, suburban and rural consumers, see New Metropolitans.

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