Tag: forgotten america

Aaron Renn joins Seth Barron to discuss the divide between the country’s economically booming metro areas and its depressed non-urban and rural areas.

An Empire Center report released last month highlighted the disparity in job growth between “upstate” and “downstate” New York: of the 106,000 jobs created between April 2017 and April 2018, more than 85 percent of them were in the New York City metro area. Similar imbalances in urban-rural economic development can be found in Midwest states like Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio, as well as in California and others.

On this AEI Events Podcast, Katharine Stevens hosts photojournalist Chris Arnade, who has spent the past six years documenting the stories of those living in the “forgotten” towns across America. From Portsmouth, Ohio, to Ohatchee, Alabama, he captured the stories of “forgotten America.” These are the areas hit hardest by job loss, income stagnation, and drug addiction, yet they are often overlooked by policymakers and the press. Arnade’s reporting illuminates gaps between the reality experienced by millions of struggling Americans and the frequently abstract policy discussions in Washington, DC.

Arnade argued that the greatest divide in the country is education. His photo presentation revealed how kids who grew up in the “front row” — those who are mobile, are well-educated, and have large social networks via colleges and careers — have experienced a vastly different America than kids from the “back row” — those who stay in the town where they are born, usually lack any education beyond high school, and generally view their lives as worse off than their parents’.