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Developing strategies to address rural challenges and opportunities

Research and Innovation

Research and innovation are central to the Rural Center’s work. They ground our understanding of where rural North Carolina is today and what it can become in the future.


To provide state and local leaders accurate information on which to base their decisions, the center collects and analyzes data from a range of national and state sources. The online Rural Data Bank gives you easy access to much of that information. You may view standard reports – county or small town profiles, for example – or use the custom search function to compile a report on data you specify.


Each year the center identifies specific issues for in-depth exploration by center staff, who work in concert with local, state, and national experts on research initiatives. 


To ensure that its research results in practical solutions, the center chooses strategies that hold particular promise for rural development and tests them at sites throughout the state.