New report: “Summary of responses from the macro survey “Which future do you want in rural areas?”
Firstly – a warm thank you to all engaged citizens around Europe who has answered our survey, and a big thank you also to all members for the help with distributing and translating the survey and after that analyzing the answers from the own country! Also a big thankyo to all the LAGs and FLAGs distributing it to our rural citizens, without your contribution, this survey would not have been answered.
From May to August 2020, 3 436 people from 26 different countries answered our survey!
In the report you can find general conclusions with more details, but here are our main findings:
1. Rural citizens ask for basic services and job-opportunities
80,2% of the people answering the survey rate jobs and decent employment as one of the top 3
necessities of rural areas. However, this is not true for all countries, for example in Sweden,
“Accessibility to services comparable to those of cities” rates the highest. On European level,
accessibility to services rate 61,5% of the people answering are choosing this option as one of the
The services that rural people are asking for are still very basic. The services that rural people
need and value the most, according to this survey, are the following:
• Health and Care
• Care services for the elderly and dependents
• Affordable Housing
Please note, that these are services that are not necessarily completely replaceable with digital
services. Rural people are – still -urging the same basic services as urban take for granted. The
absence of these services are very important push factors for all possible migrants (inland,
regional, international) that could imagine a life in rural areas.
2. The vital importance of rural territories to society as a whole must be recognized, its image
and perception among urban populations and decision-makers must be improved, with a
deconstruction of stereotypes – the urban norm needs to be broken.
The second conclusion is especially drawn from the free text answers. This
means that public investments in development of rural areas (except farming) should be equal to
the investments in the development of urban per capita, and it is time to change the narratives of
rural – employ and invest in rural people to support this change. People living and working in rural
areas have a different perspective.
3. Expand and extend the LEADER-method as the multi-level governance tool it is. This was drawn
from statistical answers as well as the free text answers. There is a lot of information around
LEADER in the conclusion of the free text answers, and the main point is that LEADER and CLLD has
a huge support in rural areas, and should be expanded and extended. LEADER has proven to
react flexible, quickly and target-oriented to the current crisis and it is a method with 25 years’
experience. LEADER/CLLD can and should be trusted, also to lead rural areas in to the future.