Polaroid framed photos of the flags of Canada, Australia and UK

International Survey of Rural Challenges answers

Australia, Canada and UK weigh in with assets and challenges

Our Survey of Rural Challenges just wrapped up this week, and I want to share the preliminary results with you.

This year, international people made almost 4% of all responses, based on what survey-takers volunteered about their locations. There were 13 from Canada, 4 from Australia, and two from the UK. A few didn’t pick a country for their location, so they aren’t included in this international count.

That’s 19 responses total, so not a huge representation for the whole world. I see some strong similarities that make me think it’s still worth looking at.

Rural people have a lot in common, internationally.

Four of the top five community challenges are the same (just in a different order) for international responses as the overall survey.

Optimism for your community was the same as on the overall results, with more people optimistic than pessimistic. Both had the same average of 3.1 out of 5, with five being the most optimistic option.

Small business challenges showed more differences, with three of the top 5 the same as the total results.

Top 5 Rural Community Challenges – Australia, Canada and UK

  1. There is not enough good housing here. How can we make more available?
  2. We’re missing out on tourism opportunities. How can we draw more visitors to town?
  3. There’s so much conflict and old-way thinking in this town. How can we bring our community together?
  4. We’re losing our young people. How can we keep them from moving away?
  5. No one volunteers. How can we get more people to help?

Missing tourism opportunities was ranked 9th in the overall survey results, the only significant difference. That’s an interesting topic for a difference. Did we just happen to reach people from tourism areas?

The top community assets the international people mentioned were nature and natural resources, followed by our people. That’s the same as the overall results, based on our initial analysis.

Top 5 Rural Small Business Challenges – Australia, Canada and UK

  1. I need to hire workers, but there aren’t enough good employees here. How do I find good people?
  2. I tried being open later hours, but no one showed up. How do I get people to shop evenings?
  3. I can’t get a business loan. Where do I find the money I need?
  4. Customers love what I sell, but then they go buy the same things online. How can I make them buy from me?
  5. I can’t find a usable building in this town. Where can I put my business?

The overall survey ranked evening shopping as 7th, and business loans as 6th in the small business challenges. This difference might be due to the small sample size, or it might reflect different local conditions.

Rural is rural, no matter where you are.

I’m more intrigued by our similarities than our differences. International friends, I’d love to hear from you. How do these results land with you? Tell me more about your communities, your assets and your challenges.

Full results coming soon.

The full results will be released later in 2024. In January 2025, we’ll release a comparison of all the results from 2015 through today.

Meanwhile, check out the preliminary survey results at SaveYour.Town.