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A Few Ways to Reduce Income Inequality on the Great Plains

Patrick Cavan Brown
Al Jazeera America

In the face of growing income inequality on the rural Great Plains, the Center for Rural Affairs has published four ways to address the problem.

First, rural people should be given more opportunities to obtain higher education. Research shows that people with college degrees earn almost 80 percent more per year than degreeless residents.

Second, college should be made more affordable. Higher education costs have grown 538 percent since 1985. The exploding costs affect rural dwellers disproportionately, as they earn less than their urban counterparts.

Third, rural Americans should be given more access to high quality preschool. Low-income children are falling behind their wealthier peers before Kindergarten even begins.

And fourth, more retirement security should be provided in rural communities. A strong retirement system is crucial for the survival of rural communities on the Great Plains.