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A healthy community is a place where all people can

  • Meet their needs: economic, social, physical, cultural, and spiritual.
  • Work together for the common good.
  • Participate in create their future.

A community’s health is made up of many separate but inter-related dimensions. Rural Pulse 2016 breaks down rural Minnesotans’ perceptions of a healthy community by nine dimensions.

One of the nine dimensions is Life-Long Learning, where all ages have access to educational opportunities that enable them to participate in and contribute to the economic, political, social and cultural life of the community to the fullest extent of their potential.

 

Education

The majority (83%) of rural Minnesotans believe their community provides quality educational opportunities, with 42 percent strongly agreeing and 41 percent somewhat agreeing. Fifteen percent disagree that their community ensures adequate educational opportunities. Younger Millennials (ages 18 to 24) and those with incomes of $35,000 or less showing the least confidence in such.

 

Whose job is it to educate

When asked who they feel is responsible for ensuring that adequate, quality educational opportunities are available in their community, more than three in five believe it is up to the government (63%) or parents (62%). From 2013 to 2016, this represents an 11 percentage point increase in those who say they feel the government should take on the obligation for improved education.

About a third (34%) of rural respondents feel local residents without school-age children should also play a role in assisting with this effort, while 26 percent also say business owners. Urban area residents are somewhat more likely to place the burden on government versus parents (67% vs. 57% respectively).

 

A higher number of women than men feel that all groups have a responsibility toward promoting quality education in their rural communities. Millennials are the most likely age group to feel government holds the highest responsibility. Specifically, four in five (80%) of those ages 18 to 24 hold that belief. Those ages 65 or older more frequently assign the responsibility to parents.

Those with incomes of more than $100,000, while placing the highest responsibility on both government and parents, are more likely to also feel that those without children and businesses hold an obligation to ensure quality educational opportunities.

 

Life Skills

About seven in 10 (72%) rural Minnesotans believe their community does an adequate job teaching life skills to residents. Twenty-one percent disagree; most notably, rural residents with incomes of $35,000 or less show the least agreement.

 

Those in the Northeast region of the state are the least likely to feel life skills are adequately being taught in their communities.