While Americans across the country are being hard hit by historic inflation under President Joe Biden, new research indicates that rural Americans are being disproportionately affected by inflation and record gas prices.
A recent Iowa State University study found that rural households spent about 82 percent of their income on expenses in 2020 – in 2022, with expenses rising by 18.5 percent, expenses for rural households now consume a staggering 91 percent of take-home income. Urban households, on the other hand, only saw their expenses rise by around 14.5 percent since 2020; expenses went from consuming 78.5 percent of take-home pay to just under 83 percent – a relatively modest 4.5 percentage point bump.
The study noted that among the biggest drivers of increasing expenses for rural households is the cost of transportation. Given rural residents live in more spread-out geographies, their routine traveling for work, grocery shopping, and other needs requires traveling more miles and thus more gasoline, prices of which have nearly doubled since Biden assumed office. Other expenses that have disproportionately risen for rural households, according to the study, include costs of health insurance and housing.
It’s not just rising prices. Keystone industries for rural areas, namely agriculture, has been beset with supply chain gridlock. Farmers have continued to underscore the unavailability of critical spare parts locally, forcing them to travel long distances to be able to maintain and operate integral farm equipment. These miles – and increasingly costlier gallons of gas – add up, and add up quickly.
These and other factors are contributing to what a Republican National Committee spokesman called “economic malaise under Biden for rural Americans” in a press release.
“Rural Iowans know who’s to blame: Joe Biden and his reckless policies,” the RNC spokesman continued. “No wonder he has just a 27 percent approval rating in Iowa.”