To address persistent rural poverty in America, the philanthropic, nonprofit, business and government sectors need to come together and make investments aimed at catalyzing broad-based economic growth, according to a new report from NeighborWorks America.

In Turning the Tide on Persistent Rural Poverty, the group used analysis and observations from four rural regions of the United States—the Rio Grande Valley, Appalachia, Indian country and the Mississippi Delta—to develop a strategy for addressing high rates of persistent poverty, defined as at least 20 percent of the population living in poverty for at least 30 years. According to the study, persistent rural poverty is driven by a number of factors, including population loss due to out-migration, lack of accessible transportation and other vital infrastructure, and reliance on resource extraction.

Broadly, the report calls on business, government and philanthropy to increase the supply of:

  • consumer banking services and partnerships with Community Development Financial Institutions in rural markets;
  • 21st-century broadband connections, training and equipment more deeply into rural communities; and
  • commercial lending to grow small businesses and encourage local entrepreneurship.

Specific recommendations include clustering investments to maximize impact, supporting community leadership development, promoting investment using new models that leverage public resources with philanthropy and private equity, and partnering locally and regionally to achieve economies of scale.

To read the study in full, go to