Denver skyline from City Park Golf Course. Denver skyline from City Park Golf Course.

The U.S. has become a divided nation, reports the Associated Press in this Colorado Spring Gazette article. Cities are on an upward economic trajectory, and rural areas are steadily shedding population and increasingly suffering economically.

While plenty of cities still struggle with endemic poverty and joblessness, a report from the Washington-based Economic Innovation Group found that half of new business growth in the past four years has been concentrated in 20 populous counties.

These two different economic worlds are writ large in Colorado. It is among the states with the greatest economic gap between urban and rural areas, according to an Associated Press review of EIG data (Virginia, South Carolina and Florida are the others).

The state's sprawling metropolitan areas from Denver to Colorado Springs is known as the Front Range. As it has grown to include nearly 90 percent of the state's population, it has trended Democratic. Rural areas, which have become more Republican, resent Denver's clout. In 2013, a rural swath of the state unsuccessfully tried to secede to create its own state of Northern Colorado after the Democratic-controlled statehouse passed new gun control measures and required rural areas to use renewably generated electricity.

"There's a lack of interest in both parties — in urban, rural communities — in knowing what the others' needs are," said Jim Rizzuto, president of Otero Junior College.

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