Publications

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  • Baby Boom Migration Tilts Toward Rural America

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2009

    If baby boomers follow migration patterns similar to those of their predecessors, the rural population age 55-75 will increase by 30 percent between 2010 and 2020. Local economic development strategies aimed at attracting more jobs will likely have little effect on the migration decisions of baby boomers searching for a better quality of life.

  • Baby Boom Migration and Its Impact on Rural America

    ERR-79, August 10, 2009

    If baby boomers follow past migration patterns, the nonmetro population age 55-75 will increase by 30 percent between now and 2020, with some rural communities affected more than others.

  • Creating Rural Wealth: A New Lens for Rural Development Efforts

    Amber Waves, September 20, 2012

    Rural development efforts that create and maintain a broad portfolio of wealth may be central to sustainable rural prosperity.

  • Data Feature

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2003

    In recent years, nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) areas have become more socially and economically integrated with metropolitan (metro) areas. Still, newly released data from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, along with new metropolitan area definitions, show nonmetro areas continue to lag metro areas in many respects.

  • Energy Development’s Impacts on Rural Employment Growth

    Amber Waves, December 16, 2013

    Energy Development’s Impacts on Rural Employment Growth.

  • Factors Affecting Former Residents' Returning to Rural Communities

    ERR-185, May 21, 2015

    The desire to raise children back home was among the most frequently cited reasons for returning to live in relatively remote rural areas. Most nonreturnees who considered returning cited limited career opportunities as the primary barrier.

  • Five Years of Population Loss in Rural and Small-Town America May Be Ending

    Amber Waves, June 06, 2016

    Nonmetro population declined by just 4,000 from July 2014 to July 2015 after 4 years of population losses averaging 33,000 yearly. The 2014-15 improvement in nonmetro population change coincides with rural economic recovery and suggests that this first-ever period of overall population decline (from 2010 to 2015) may be ending.

  • Foundation Giving to Rural Areas in the United States Is Disproportionately Low

    Amber Waves, August 03, 2015

    ERS estimates that the value of U.S. foundation grants to benefit rural areas was 6-7 percent of total domestic grants in 2010.

  • Geographic Targeting Issues in the Delivery of Rural Development Assistance

    EIB-65, April 30, 2010

    This report uses analysis of the geographic distribution of Federal funding to discuss potential tradeoffs for distressed rural areas when shifting from one form of rural development assistance to another, particularly when shifting to greater use of Government-guaranteed loans. The study also uses correlation analysis to document the extent of targeting rural development programs to highly rural areas and to rural areas experiencing distress in the form of poverty, low employment, and population decline. Findings indicate that distressed rural areas might fare worse than other nonmetro areas with some kinds of shifts, such as reducing grants and direct Government loans to fund increases in guaranteed loans. The effects on distressed areas would depend on the form of distress, the programs involved, and how they are targeted geographically.

  • Growth of Hispanics in Rural Workforce

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    Technological change and industrial restructuring in rural America in the 1990s led some employers to demand more unskilled workers relative to skilled workers. Many of those unskilled workers were Hispanics, who now represent an increased share of the rural workforce

  • Growth of Older Population Slows in Rural and Small-Town Areas

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    The older rural and small-town population grew more slowly in the 1990s than did the population under age 65 for the first time in the 20th century. This stemmed from fewer people reaching age 65 as a result of the low birth rates of 1925-35 and outmigration from farm communities after World War II.

  • Hispanics Contribute to Increasing Diversity in Rural America

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2011

    During a decade of diminished population growth across rural and small-town America, Hispanic population growth and geographic dispersion during 2000-2010 was a strong driver of demographic change, as it has been for at least two decades.

  • Hispanics Find a Home in Rural America

    Amber Waves, February 03, 2003

    Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, and this growth is especially striking in rural America. The 2000 census shows that Hispanics accounted for only 5.5 percent of the Nation's nonmetro population, but 25 percent of nonmetro population growth during the 1990s.

  • How Do U.S. Farmers Plan for Retirement?

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2005

    Retirement and succession planning are of considerable importance to farm households and there are good reasons to believe that they are affected by savings and retirement policies in ways that are different from the rest of the Nation's households. This article examines how farmers save for retirement as well as their dependency on social security.

  • Impacts of Hispanic Population Growth on Rural Wages

    AER-826, September 24, 2003

    Although earnings generally increased in rural areas in the 1990s, Hispanic population growth led to lower wages for at least one segment of the rural population-workers with a high school degree (skilled workers), particularly men in this skill group. Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Current Population Survey, this report examines the effects of Hispanic population growth on rural wages. The analysis combines approaches from earlier immigration-impact studies and more recent work that incorporates the role of labor demand in the labor market. The analysis finds that labor demand shift factors and other area-specific factors that often are not included in immigration studies are important. Results indicate that labor demand increases favored skilled workers (those with a high school degree) overall but favored unskilled and professional workers in some rural industries. Thus, the increased supply of unskilled labor from Hispanic population growth led to lower wages for skilled men as a result of production changes in some parts of the rural economy.

  • In The Long Run

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2006

    Indicators: In the Long Run - February 2006

  • In the Long Run: Farm Population as a Share of Total U.S. Population

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    Farm population has fallen steadily as a share of total U.S. population for more than a century.

  • Natural Amenities Drive Rural Population Change

    AER-781, October 01, 1999

    Climate, topography, and water area are highly related to rural county population change over the past 25 years. A natural amenities index, derived and discussed here, captures much of this relationship. Average 1970-96 population change in nonmetropolitan counties was 1 percent among counties low on the natural amenities index and 120 percent among counties high on the index. Most retirement counties and recreation counties score in the top quarter of the amenities index. Employment change is also highly related to natural amenities, although more so over the past 25 years than in the current decade. The importance of particular amenities varies by region. In the Midwest, for example, people are drawn to lakes for recreation and retirement, while people are attracted to the West for its varied topography.

  • Natural Gas Extraction and Local Economies—No Evidence of a “Natural Resource Curse”

    Amber Waves, August 04, 2014

    In the 2000s, natural gas production from shale formations increased tenfold in the United States, and growth in production has continued through 2013. Opponents of hydraulic fracturing cite environmental concerns such as groundwater contamination and air pollution. Proponents often highlight the benefit of natural gas extraction to local and state economies.

  • New Patterns of Hispanic Settlement in Rural America

    RDRR-99, May 28, 2004

    Since 1980, the nonmetro Hispanic population in the United States has doubled and is now the most rapidly growing demographic group in rural and small-town America. By 2000, half of all nonmetro Hispanics lived outside traditional settlement areas of the Southwest. Many Hispanics in counties that have experienced rapid Hispanic growth are recent U.S. arrivals with relatively low education levels, weak English proficiency, and undocumented status. This recent settlement has increased the visibility of Hispanics in many new regions of rural America whose population has long been dominated by non-Hispanic Whites. Yet within smaller geographic areas, the level of residential separation between them increased-i.e., the two groups became less evenly distributed-during the 1990s, especially in rapidly growing counties. Hispanic settlement patterns warrant attention by policymakers because they affect the well-being of both Hispanics and rural communities themselves.