Survey of Rural Challenges news

What small town people see as their biggest challenges

Update: 2023 results

Survey of Rural Challenges 2023 by debworks

Full 2023 results

See the full 2023 results, infographic and PDF report here.

I wait every other year for the results of this rural survey to help us align our work at Crowdfund Better with what rural businesses need. Thanks to Becky McCray and Deb Brown of SaveYour.Town for your dedication to putting this report together that reflects the challenges felt by real people who live and work in rural communities.

Kathleen Minogue

Crowdfund Better, Idaho

Since 2015, over 1700 people answered the Survey of Rural Challenges. It uncovered big disconnects between what rural people want and what media, service providers and policy makers provide.

  • Services and assistance commonly offered to rural people don’t match up with what rural people say they want help with.
  • Common themes in media coverage and policy conversations around rural communities don’t match rural views.
  • What urban and suburban people think of rural challenges is tinged by stereotypes that don’t agree with what rural people are thinking.

Press and Media Information

The 2023 survey results are available here.

See analysis of 2015 – 2021 rounds of the Survey of Rural Challenges 

The 2021 survey results are available here.

The 2019 survey results are available here.

The 2017 survey results are available here.

The 2015 survey results are available here.

Important reading for any Economic Development professional serving a rural or small town community.

Clark Hoskin

Deloitte Canada

Media coverage







  • International Association of Community Development, “Survey of Rural Challenges 2017: What small town people in the US and Canada see as their biggest challenges and what topics they most want help with,” Practice Insights issue 10, March 2018
  • Main Street America, State of Main 2018, The Future of Retail
  • Population Smallsville, Invision Magazine, June 2018



About SaveYour.Town

SaveYour.Town believes small towns can be saved by their own people using their existing assets. Deb Brown and Becky McCray joined forces in May 2015 to help small towns and rural communities thrive. They deliver speeches and presentations internationally, lead site visits and community brainstorming sessions, and create online videos and short courses of practical steps that can be put into action right away.

About Small Biz Survival publishes practical articles for rural small businesses. It was founded in January 2006 by Becky McCray from Oklahoma. Over the years, it has achieved top ranking among small business blogs on sites like Technorati, Invesp BlogRank and BizHumm, and it continues to appear on lists of top small business blogs. For her work as publisher, McCray has been named one of the Power Players in Technology Business Media and a Small Business Influencer Journalist four times.

About Becky McCray

Becky McCray is a lifelong small-town entrepreneur. As co-founder of Save Your.Town, she shares insights from her real-world experience as a business owner and cattle rancher. Throughout her career, rural has been the focus. She managed a retail store, served as city administrator and nonprofit executive, bought and sold antiques and taught classes in business and technology. Her practical perspective is featured at her highly-ranked website, Small Biz Survival, and in her award-winning book, Small Town Rules. She’s been featured and quoted in books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, podcasts and university publications. She makes her home base in Hopeton, Oklahoma, a community of 30 people. 

About Deb Brown

Deb Brown is a small town enthusiast and expert for small towns. Her practical approach for getting communities into action right away has been shared at national conferences, local visits, service organizations and everything in between. Her wealth of experience includes foreign casualty insurance underwriting, bartending, retail management, selling knives around the US, leading a chamber and working with small towns. Deb has lived in tiny towns, small towns, small cities and a major metro city. Yet, she’s come home to a small town and travels to many other rural communities to help. She collaborates with Becky McCray at and has her own business

Photos and Logos

Survey of Rural Challenges
The Survey of Rural Challenges is brought to you by Becky McCray and Deb Brown, and by and SaveYour.Town

Website and social media links

Survey Results and News Room:


LinkedIn: Small Biz Survival, SaveYour.Town

Twitter: @SBSurvival@SaveYourTown

Instagram: @SaveYourTown

Facebook: Small Biz SurvivalSaveYour.Town

For more info contact

Becky McCray


Deb Brown