Welcoming Refugees in Rural Communities

Welcoming America
Date of Publication: 
September, 2018
Source Organization: 
Welcoming America

Refugees come to this country searching for safety and then for opportunities for education, employment, and ultimately to be part of a thriving community. Some newcomers make the large cities of the United States their new homes, and some follow the opportunities that present themselves in smaller and more rural parts of the country. Rural communities often have quite a bit to offer these newcomers: steady employment, a reasonable cost of living, social cohesion, and for many, the chance to live in a place that is similar in size to where they come from. While newcomers are usually drawn to rural places out of economic necessity, they stay when these smaller and more rural places start to become home. Refugees and immigrants feel welcomed when smaller and more rural communities have created programs, partnerships, policies, and opportunities that engage them. Rural areas also thrive because their U.S.-born population is typically older, while the younger generation is drawn to cities; refugees and other immigrants represent an opportunity for addressing population decline and revitalizing communities.

As the four community profiles show, there are successful rural initiatives that are bringing together receiving community residents and refugees and demonstrating what is possible when all residents are connected, supported, and involved.

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Welcoming America. (2018). Welcoming Refugees in Rural Communities. Retrieved from https://www.welcomingrefugees.org/sites/default/files/documents/resources/RuralToolkit_FINAL_web.pdf