rural economy

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Valley Center’s only independent grocery store, Leeker’s Family Foods, closed this weekend. The store was not only a place to buy food, but it also served as a community hub for the past 50 years.

COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

For the first time in its annual survey of rural America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that mortality rates of working-age adults are on the rise because of opioid and heroin overdoses.

Continuing longtime trends, rural areas are still seeing declining populations, the rebound from the Great Recession is slow and poverty remains a persistent problem, according to the USDA’s “Rural America at a Glance,” released Thursday.