The One Thing That Unites Our Increasingly Divided Country


If I remember it correctly, it goes like this: If you’re standing on your porch naked and the neighbors can’t see you, it’s rural. If you’re standing on your front porch naked and the neighbors call the cops, it’s suburban. And if you’re standing on your front porch naked and the neighbors ignore you, it’s urban. It’s meant to be a joke that points out the different experiences and reactions in rural, suburban, and urban areas to the same situation.

One not-so-funny situation that is the same in rural, suburban, and urban areas is the need for infrastructure. The specific needs may differ so it would be interesting to find out how different parts of the country feel about investing in infrastructure. Luckily, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) recently conducted a survey to gauge perceptions and attitudes.

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What they found was that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe in infrastructure investment. Eighty-nine percent agree that it will improve the economy. Eighty-two percent say it will increase jobs in their communities. And 81% believe it will improve their quality of life.

Here are some other key findings:

  • Among all adults, more than half (56%) think US infrastructure is in bad condition compared to just 30% who say it is in good condition.
  • Half of Americans (50%) believe the transportation industry will be one of three industries to benefit most from infrastructure investment. Construction is a close second to transportation with 46%. Manufacturing ranks third with 30% of Americans believing that this industry will benefit most from infrastructure investment.
  • More than one in three (32%) of rural residents, those living in a suburb or town (31%), and city dwellers (35%) rank “increased access to education and workforce training” as a top three benefit of broadband and wireless investments.

Regarding the survey results, AEM president Dennis Slater said, “The findings underscore the fact that infrastructure connects rural and urban America—both literally and physically. America’s infrastructure was once the envy of the world, but after years of underinvestment, our infrastructure and connectivity between rural and urban America have deteriorated considerably. This is one of the areas rural and urban Americans agree on today—that we must modernize and rebuild our infrastructure to reclaim the infrastructure advantage we once had.” 

The survey was done in this past July when AEM commissioned YouGov to conduct an online omnibus poll of more than 3,000 adults.GX_bug_web


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