State of Change

In small towns across the Mountain West, life is changing quickly. In some places, once-steady livelihoods in farming and ranching are less and less viable. In others, the boom-and-bust cycles of coal and natural gas have hit hard in Southwestern towns. And more young people are moving away from rural places than into them. Meanwhile, other rural communities are growing dramatically, flooded with tourists and newcomers. How do rural communities adapt to current economic shifts, and brace for what's to come?

Over the next nine months, 10 New Mexico news organizations will investigate that question. They'll examine the challenge of building resilient rural communities, and look at what some communities are doing right. This project is supported by NewTowncarShare News and the Solutions Journalism Network, and is funded by the LOR Foundation.

Raton tries to rise again
Raton tries to rise again
A former coal mining town takes measured approach to economic recovery.
In the Southwest, a sustainable breed of cattle
In the Southwest, a sustainable breed of cattle
The criollo cow can thrive in hot, dry conditions that are difficult for other breeds.
A vision for the Navajo Nation in one farm’s sustainability
A vision for the Navajo Nation in one farm’s sustainability
Local businesses keep jobs and money circulating within their communities.
Navajo small businesses help stabilize booms and busts
Navajo small businesses help stabilize booms and busts
To build a sustained community, the Navajo Nation experiments with entrepreneurs.
From ‘hallway’ to artery, a town rebuilds Main Street
From ‘hallway’ to artery, a town rebuilds Main Street
Booms and busts withered Farmington, New Mexico, but new initiatives could revitalize it.
When federal health care falls short, tribes improvise
When federal health care falls short, tribes improvise
A growing number of tribes manage their own clinics and behavioral programs.
In New Mexico, demographic shifts have helped job growth
In New Mexico, demographic shifts have helped job growth
An influx of immigrants is preventing economic stagnation in the borderlands.
New Mexico breweries patch the gaps between oil booms
New Mexico breweries patch the gaps between oil booms
Rural towns explore ways to diversify their economies, from tourism to hospitality.
In rural New Mexico, a new brewery creates momentum
In rural New Mexico, a new brewery creates momentum
Truth or Consequences looks for ways to attract a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Infographic: Where in the West young people are moving
Infographic: Where in the West young people are moving
Some counties in the region buck the aging trend.
Why save the small town?
Why save the small town?
Cities may seem inevitable, but rural communities are finding ways to hang on.
Seeking economic health for small towns
Seeking economic health for small towns
A project looks at how communities are faring in rural New Mexico.