About the Atlas
- In February 2014, indictors of county-level change in natural gas and onshore oil production, 2000-11, were added to the Atlas. More detailed oil and natural gas production data are available in County-level Oil and Gas Production in the U.S. on the ERS website.
- In June 2013, population, employment, and unemployment estimates were updated to 2012; net migration and natural change were update to 2000-2010. A simplified user interface that reduced the number of classification filters was adopted.
- In May 2013, the 2013 Rural Urban Continuum Codes and the 2013 Urban Influence Codes were added to the classification section. Persistent Poverty Counties 1980-2011, and High Poverty Counties 2007-2011 were also added as classifications.
- In January 2013, the American Community Survey data were updated from 2006-2010 to 2007-2011.
- In May 2012, new data from the 2006-2010 ACS on civilian veterans were added to the Atlas.
- In May 2012, employment and unemployment data were updated to 2011.
- In April 2012, new data from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey were added, including indicators on population, education, income, and other demographic variables.
Objectives of the Atlas
ERS promotes the well-being of rural America through research and analysis to better understand the economic, demographic, environmental, and social forces affecting rural regions and communities. In collaboration with other USDA agencies, ERS research helps provide rural residents and community and business leaders with the knowledge and skills to help their communities thrive in the global economy.
The objectives of the Atlas are:
- To provide a spatial interpretation of county-level, economic and social conditions along four dimensions: people, jobs, agriculture, and county classifications.
- To highlight the value of the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey as a new source of county data and to bring together data from several different Federal sources.
- To allow the use of socioeconomic indicators jointly with ERS county typologies to better understand the diverse opportunities and challenges facing rural regions and communities.
What information is included in the Atlas?
The Atlas assembles statistics on four broad categories of socioeconomic factors:
- People--Demographic data from the American Community Survey, including age, race and ethnicity, migration and immigration, education, household size and family composition. Data have been added on veterans, including service period, education, unemployment, income, and demographic characteristics
- Jobs--Economic data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources, including information on employment trends, unemployment, industrial composition, and household income
- Agriculture--Indicators from the latest Census of Agriculture, including number and size of farms, operator characteristics, off-farm income, and government payments
- County classifications--the rural-urban continuum, economic dependence, persistent poverty, population loss, oil/natural gas counties, and other ERS county codes
Descriptions of these ERS classifications and detailed source information for all the indicators that are available for mapping are provided in the Documentation section of the Atlas.
What can users do with the Atlas?
- View county-level maps for over 60 socioeconomic indicators
- View the entire country or zoom into specific regions, States, or county areas
- View a selected socioeconomic indicator just for counties of a certain type (such as nonmetro, farming-dependent, persistent poverty); counties that fall outside of the selected county type are grayed out
- For any county, view a pop-up window showing all the indicators for that county
- Print a version of the map or save the image in a graphics-file format that may be added to documents or presentations
- Download a spreadsheet containing all the data for a selected county or for all U.S. counties.
Please note: The variables "Percent with some college experience 2005-2009" and "Percent with college degree or higher, 2005-2009" were miscalculated in an earlier release. Persons with an associate's degree were included in the "College degree or higher" category rather than the "Some college experience" category. These data have since been updated with the latest American Community Survey variables.
See also the Amber Waves data feature on the Atlas (March 2011 issue).