State of Change

In small towns in New Mexico and the West, life is changing quickly. More young people are moving away from rural places than into them. Some New Mexico communities are trying to escape generations-long boom-and-bust cycles, while others struggle to retain their identity in an economy flooded with tourists and newcomers. Internet connections that could power remote businesses in rural places lag behind urban centers.

New Mexico, along with the rest of the rural West, is in a state of change. Over the past year, a group of New Mexico news organizations investigated the challenges to building resilient rural communities, and found a lack of high speed internet holds communities back. Now, they bring you stories about the complex barriers to launching internet connections in most rural areas, and show you the tribes, towns and schools who are doing it better. This project is supported by High Country News and the Solutions Journalism Network, and is funded by the LOR Foundation.

The effort to save Upper Klamath Lake’s endangered fish before they disappear
The effort to save Upper Klamath Lake’s endangered fish before they disappear
Another dry year pushes tribal nations, federal agencies and irrigators to find long-lasting solutions.
Competition fosters computer skills in New Mexico schools
Competition fosters computer skills in New Mexico schools
Rural students learn how to code by participating in a supercomputing challenge.
The New Mexico towns where less connectivity is more
The New Mexico towns where less connectivity is more
Communities are embracing faster internet but rejecting better cellphone reception.
Tribes lead the way for faster internet access in New Mexico
Tribes lead the way for faster internet access in New Mexico
Across sovereign governments, a group of Southwest tribes prepares to launch their own network.
How a rural electric co-op connected a community
How a rural electric co-op connected a community
By expanding into broadband, Kit Carson Co-op provides high-speed internet to thousands.
Small towns look for a road forward, paved with fiber-optic
Small towns look for a road forward, paved with fiber-optic
A group of New Mexico newsrooms examines the future of broadband access in rural communities.
In small towns, a way to make remote work, work
In small towns, a way to make remote work, work
A ‘micro’ economic development program bolsters a community of telecommuters.
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.
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