University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development will air a live webinar entitled Rural Community Water: Understanding Public and Private Sources of Drinking Water on November 1, 2018, from Noon – 1:00 p.m. Steve Wilson, Groundwater Hydrologist from the Illinois State Water Survey, will discuss what local officials need to know about small drinking water systems, private wells, and septic systems, as well as share tools available to help communities make sure their drinking water is safe and meets standards. Steve specializes in SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act) and CWA (Clean Water Act) compliance in small water and wastewater systems. He has directed more than 40 research projects funded by local, state, and federal entities. He authored the ISWS Private Well Class and manages WaterOperator.org. REGISTER NOW for this free webinar.
The University of Illinois System contributes $17.5 billion annually to the state’s economy through its research, hospital, and entrepreneurial activities, along with the universities' students and visitors, according to a recent study. The U of I System's impact supports more than 171,300 jobs--which means that one out of every 46 jobs in Illinois is supported by the activities of the universities and their students. Students who invest in their U of I education will collectively receive a present value of $10.4 billion in increased earnings over their working lives. This translates to a return of $5.00 in higher future earnings for every $1 that students invest in their education. The average annual return for students is 15.4%.
The notion of a deep and enduring divide between thriving, affluent, progressive urban areas and declining, impoverished, conservative rural areas has become a central trope—if not the central trope—in American culture today. But the reality is that this narrative fails to capture the full complexity of economic life in America. In fact, parts of rural America are thriving, even as other parts decline; just as parts of urban America continue to lose population and face economic decline as other parts make a comeback. The rural-urban continuum developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture sorts America’s more than 3,000 counties into nine different types of places, from highly urbanized counties in large metropolitan areas to small, isolated rural counties. Nearly 45% of rural counties (909 of 2,052) grew at a rate that exceeded the median national rate of growth. More than 150 rural counties (8% of all rural counties) had population growth of 5% or better, and 44 rural counties had growth in excess of 10%, representing a quarter of all the counties across the country that had population growth of 10% or higher.
Rural areas are likely to be undercounted in the 2020 census and may lose federal funding for needed programs, says a study by the George Washington University Institute of Public Policy. In an effort to save money, the Census Bureau will try to get people to fill out forms online and use door-to-door census workers mostly as backups. "Many people in already hard-to-count populations do not have internet access, meaning they are even less likely to get counted, said noted demographer Bill O'Hare," Susan Milligan reports for U.S. News and World Report. "Since federal dollars are allocated according to formulas based on census data, that could mean substantial losses to rural states that shared $30 billion in rural-targeted programs in fiscal year 2016."