The Census Bureau defines “rural” as anything that exists outside of “urban clusters” with upwards of 2,500 residents or “urban areas” with 50,000 or more.
By this measure, Vermont is the second most rural state in the US, being just slightly less rural than Maine.
The area surrounding Burlington is Vermont’s only urban area. We have 19 “urban clusters,” but three are shared with New Hampshire, and one is set entirely in New Hampshire:
– Bellows Falls, VT–NH Urban Cluster
– Bennington, VT Urban Cluster
– Brattleboro, VT–NH Urban Cluster
– Fair Haven, VT Urban Cluster
– Lebanon–Hanover, NH–VT Urban Cluster
– Lyndonville, VT Urban Cluster
– Middlebury, VT Urban Cluster
– Milton, VT Urban Cluster
– Newport, VT Urban Cluster
– Northfield, VT Urban Cluster
– Rutland, VT Urban Cluster
– St . Albans, VT Urban Cluster
– St . Johnsbury, VT Urban Cluster
– Springfield, VT Urban Cluster
– Swanton, VT Urban Cluster
– Vergennes, VT Urban Cluster
– Waterbury, VT Urban Cluster
– Windsor, VT–NH Urban Cluster
Stereotypes of rural populations persist, though they’re often flawed. For example, only nine percent of rural workers in the US are in agriculture.
Overall, rural Americans earn as much as urban Americans. In the Northeast and Midwest US, a rural family is actually likely to make more in median income than an urban one.
Here in Vermont, households in “urban” Chittenden County have a median income about $13,000 higher than the statewide median income of $54,447.
The US median income is $51,939.
Seven of Vermont’s counties – Windam, Lamoille, Bennington, Caledonia, Essex, Orleans, and Rutland – have lower a median income than the US median.
In the US, rural populations tend to be more conservative than urban populations – as was frequently noted in the most recent presidential election.
Taken as an example of a rural state, Vermont is one of the few that votes blue in national elections. A closer look shows we do have a rural-urban voting divide. It’s just not as severe as other parts of the US.
Here in Vermont, the journey from “urban” to “rural” is a twenty-minute car ride. It’s often substantially longer in the other direction. One of the beautiful things about Vermont is that not everyone wants to travel from one to the other.
Rural Vermont is Vermont. Urban Vermont is Vermont. And there is business opportunity all over.
Thanks for reading!
Edward, Sue, and Nicole