Rural Texas has been on the decline for decades.
Now, The Texas Observer has published an essay detailing the “Seven Most Pressing Issues Facing Rural Texas.”
First, in rural areas like the Panhandle, access to medical care can be hard to find. Over the past five years, 18 rural hospitals have closed in Texas.
Another issue: small towns can’t afford the same kind of infrastructure upkeep as big cities, resulting in aging roads and poor water systems.
Third, many rural school districts are struggling to stay open, due to lack of funding. Fourth, rural residents face unique environmental hazards, such as water supplies contaminated by “unscrupulous crop duster pilots.”
Fifth, there’s little incentive for young residents to stick around after high school, resulting in a stagnant economy. Sixth, rural areas are prone to natural disasters.
And finally, many small-town newspapers have died, resulting in a loss of rural news coverage.