Rural communities in the United States have diversified and their dependence onagriculture has decreased substantially. In the 1980s, rural deindustrialization occurredand rural areas continued to become more service oriented: employment opportunitiesdeclined because of shifts in the world and U.S. economies, and anti-rural publicpolicies. In response, some rural communities have become entrepreneurial communities,whose characteristics include: healthy acceptance of controversy; a degree ofeconomic surplus to allow for risk-taking; willingness of community to tax itself tomaintain infrastructure and schools; the ability to define community broadly and tonetwork both vertically and horizontally to obtain resources; and dispersed communityleadership. Entrepreneurial behavior in the context of more favorable state and federalpolicies could help stabilize many rural communities.

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