Publications

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  • 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.

  • Behind the Data

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2005

    Indicators: Behind the Data - November 2005

  • Changes in the Older Population and Implications for Rural Areas

    RDRR-90, February 01, 2000

    The older population in the United States has been growing and aging rapidly, with the fastest growing segment being the oldest old--those age 85 and older. This segment of the older population increased 37 percent between 1980 and 1990, compared with a 17-percent increase in the total population of elderly (60 and above). The oldest old are more likely to be women, to be in poor health, to live alone, and to be poor. This analysis presents data on changes in the age distribution and socioeconomic status of the older population by rural-urban residence and examines the implications for resources, services, and programs in rural areas.

  • 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.

  • Defining the “Rural” in Rural America

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2008

    The use of different definitions of rural by Federal agencies reflects the multidimensional qualities of rural America.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Impacts of Regional Approaches to Rural Development: Initial Evidence on the Delta Regional Authority

    ERR-119, June 23, 2011

    The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) began funding rural development projects in economically distressed counties in the Mississippi River Delta region in 2002. To assess the initial economic outcomes of DRA funding, we compared nonmetropolitan DRA counties with similar counties elsewhere in the same region as well as in the Southeast. Per capita income, net earnings, and transfer payments grew more rapidly in DRA counties than in similar non-DRA counties, and those impacts were stronger in counties in which DRA spending was higher. Each additional dollar of DRA spending was associated with an increase of $15 in the growth of annual personal income from 2002 to 2007, including an increase of $8 in annual earnings (primarily in the health care and social services sector) and an additional $5 in annual transfer (Government) payments (mainly due to increased medical transfer payments such as Medicare and Medicaid). Our findings suggest that investments supported by the DRA in improved medical facilities and DRA efforts to increase the supply of health professionals may be promoting additional health sector earnings and medical transfer payments.

  • Issues in Rural Manufacturing: Results of the ERS Rural Manufacturing Survey

    AIB-736, October 01, 1998

    About the Survey The ERS Rural Manufacturing Survey is a nationwide study of local factors affecting the ability of manufacturers to compete in today's increasingly international economy. Telephone interviews were conducted with 2,844 rural and 1,065 urban establishments with 10 or more employees. Questions focused on technology adoption, worker skills and training, access to outside expertise, sources of capital for expansion and modernization, and government program participation. The survey is unique in the breadth of its concerns, its focus on local relations, and the size of its rural sample. The survey was designed by ERS with input from representatives of industry and the academic research community. The Social and Economic Sciences Research Center at Washington State University conducted the actual survey. The overall response rate for the survey was 69 percent. About the Series The survey results are being published in a series of eight-page issue briefs, written under the premise that awareness and understanding of the problems facing manufacturers will improve both public and private decisionmaking. While the reports may be read separately, each builds on the others so that the entire series should provide a comprehensive view of rural manufacturers and their problems and concerns.

  • Job Losses Higher in Manufacturing Counties

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2005

    Since 2000, 2.6 million manufacturing jobs have been lost nationwide. In the face of this national decline in manufacturing employment, more than one in every four (28.5 percent) nonmetro counties depends on manufacturing for its economic base. That is, these counties derived at least 25 percent of annual average proprietor and employee earnings from manufacturing during 1998-2000, and thus are classified as manufacturing-dependent in the 2004 ERS County Typology. Manufacturing-dependent counties lost manufacturing jobs at roughly the same rate as all other counties during the steepest declines between 2001 and 2002.

  • Most Low Education Counties Are in the Nonmetro South

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    ERS's recently revised county typology classifies low education counties as those where at least one of every four adults age 25-64 has not completed high school. Nearly 9 of 10 low education counties are located in the South, including a majority of southern counties with historically large shares of Blacks and Hispanics.

  • Nonmetro Counties Vary by Urban Size and Metro Proximity

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2004

    Metro and nonmetro counties are likely to vary systematically in their trends and characteristics by population size and--if nonmetro--by their amount of urbanization and whether they adjoin a metro area. To address this diversity, ERS developed the Rural-Urban Continuum Code to classify counties along a residential scale.

  • Nonmetropolitan Outmigration Counties: Some Are Poor, Many Are Prosperous

    ERR-107, November 12, 2010

    Over a third of U.S. nonmetropolitan counties lost at least 10 percent of their population through net outmigration during the past two decades. ERS compares characteristics of such counties with other nonmetro counties.

  • One in Five Rural Counties Depends on Farming

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2004

    Farmer bankruptcies historically have been controversial because they are thought to indicate changes in the economic well being and structure of the rural economy. Farmer bankruptcies, farm numbers, and related issues are explored using available data since the beginning of modern bankruptcy legislation over a century ago. The link between farmer bankruptcies and changes in farm numbers is tenuous. Bankruptcies are subsumed and overwhelmed by larger shifts induced by a complex range of factors.

  • One in Four Rural Households are Housing Stressed

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2004

    Of the Nation's 2,000-plus nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) or rural counties, 302 are defined as housing stressed according to ERS's recently updated county typology. In these counties, at least 30 percent of households failed to meet widely used standards for minimum basic amenities in 2000. The principal component of housing stress is high housing expenses relative to income, but the other stress conditions also have an impact.

  • Onshore Oil and Gas Development in the Lower 48 States: Introducing a County-Level Database of Production for 2000-2011

    Amber Waves, February 03, 2014

    Until now, there has been no publicly available nationwide data on oil and gas production at the county level. County-level data from oil and/or natural gas producing States were compiled on a State-by-State basis. Most States have production statistics available by field, county, or well, and these data were compiled at the county level to create a database of county-level production, 2000-11.

  • Population Loss in Nonmetro Counties Continues

    Amber Waves, August 03, 2015

    Nonmetro areas in some parts of the country have experienced population loss for decades. However, 2010-14 marks the first period with an estimated population loss for nonmetro America as a whole. Opportunities for population growth and economic expansion vary widely from one nonmetro county to the next, and new regional patterns of growth and decline have emerged in recent years.

  • Profiles

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2004

    Amber Waves profiles - June 2004

  • Rural America At A Glance, 2006 Edition

    EIB-18, August 29, 2006

    Rural America At A Glance, 2006 Edition highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas. The brochure provides information on key rural conditions and trends for use by public and private decisionmakers and others in efforts to enhance the economic opportunities and quality of life for rural people and their communities.