Our partnership is led by a steering committee (“The Partners”) of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) serving three-quarters of the country’s persistent poverty counties, with headquarters in the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia, Native American Communities, the Deep South, the Rio Grande Valley and farming regions in the Rural West. Our mission is to eliminate persistent poverty and advance prosperity and economic justice. Partners for Rural Transformation strengthens local economies — generating local wealth that sticks — and builds power among those living in some of the most disinvested parts of the country. By drawing on our collective voice and shared experiences, we’re working toward a reimagined future for rural America and the people who call it home.
PRT functions through four working groups that are made of staff from each organization. 3 of our 4 working groups collaborated in order to write our response. The PRT Research, Communications, and Advocacy & Policy working groups all emphasized the importance of the 2030 Census, but most importantly, the data collection that inevitably takes place with it.
PRT works in persistent poverty counties, which are counties with 20% or more of the population below poverty for at least 30 years. These areas are concentrated in geographic clusters. Each partner serves at least one of these persistent poverty clusters. We have the credibility, expertise, and passion for uplifting the strengths and voices of these area; as well as empowering these communities to take charge of their narrative through data.
It is well known that rural data has wide gaps compared to urban and metro data. There are several structural obstacles, historical and new, that create the data divide in rural America. PRT Partners have practitioners and local organizational relationships that allow us to have an accurate and critical insight to the challenges facing rural Census data collection, and how certain methodologies that increase participation in urban settings does not perform the same in rural areas. The key to increasing rural, Native, and persistent poverty county Census participation includes: capitalizing on local leaders and their relationships to their communities, educating families about the importance of the Census, dispelling myths, assuring security in the privacy and confidentiality of their answers, and finally addressing physical barriers to the Census with targeted, intentional and strategic methods of communication.
Click here for PRT’s full comment on making the 2030 Census the most inclusive Census yet.