Publications

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  • Understanding the Rise in Rural Child Poverty, 2003-14

    ERR-208, May 16, 2016

    Rural child poverty rose between 2003 and 2014, increasing even in pre- and post-recession years. ERS looks at the effects of declining average incomes among rural families and rising rural income inequality.

  • Understanding Trends in Rural Child Poverty, 2003-14

    Amber Waves, May 16, 2016

    The share of rural children living below the official poverty line rose from 20.1 percent in 2003 to 26.7 percent in 2012, before declining to 23.7 percent in 2014. The cause of the net increase from 2003 to 2014 was not primarily a reduction in average family incomes in rural areas; rather, it was an increase in income inequality between low-income and middle-income rural families.

  • Employment: Nonmetro employment still has not recovered from Great Recession

    Amber Waves, December 07, 2015

    A new infographic from USDA's Economic Research Service describes trends in rural employment levels since before the Great Recession in 2007-09, and how these compare with trends in urban areas. While urban employment is well above its level at the beginning of the recession, rural areas have only recovered about half of the jobs they lost between early 2007 and late 2009.

  • Updated ERS County Economic Types Show a Changing Rural Landscape

    Amber Waves, December 07, 2015

    The ERS county economic typology codes are a classification system for researchers and policy analysts that provide a tool to analyze and characterize the economic base of U.S. counties. These economic typologies are a part of a larger set of county classifications that include additional indicators of policy-relevant themes, such as counties with low employment and persistent poverty.

  • Rural America at a Glance, 2015 Edition

    EIB-145, November 30, 2015

    Rural employment gains were significantly higher over the past year than in recent years, but employment remains below pre-recession levels. Rural areas still suffer population loss, higher poverty, and lower education than urban areas.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Why Some Return Home to Rural America and Why It Matters

    Amber Waves, July 06, 2015

    Continued population loss in rural communities is caused as much by low in-migration as by high out-migration; in remote rural communities lacking natural amenities, return migrants make up a large share of total in-migration. Return migrants potentially play a critical role in rural areas in slowing population loss, rejuvenating the population base, and generating jobs.

  • Understanding the Geography of Growth in Rural Child Poverty

    Amber Waves, July 06, 2015

    Over 1 in 4 rural children are living in families that are poor. Counties with high vulnerability to child poverty, those with both low young adult education levels and high proportions of children in single-parent families, were generally the most hard-hit by the recession of the past decade and experienced substantial increases in their already high child poverty rates.

  • Foundation Grants to Rural Areas from 2005 to 2010: Trends and Patterns

    EIB-141, June 25, 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. Since the rural population was 19 percent that year, this suggests an urban focus of foundation grants.

  • 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.

  • Rural Areas Lag Urban Areas in College Completion

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2014

    Despite gains in high school completion rates, rural (nonmetropolitan) areas continue to lag urban (metropolitan) areas in post-high school educational attainment.

  • Rural America at a Glance, 2014 Edition

    EB-26, November 06, 2014

    While urban employment now exceeds pre-recession levels, rural employment remains well below its 2007 peak. Median income in real terms has fallen in both rural and urban areas since 2007, with the drop in rural incomes slightly greater.

  • Rural Employment in Recession and Recovery

    Amber Waves, October 06, 2014

    Total employment loss rates during 2007-09 were slightly larger in rural (nonmetro) than urban (metro) counties and began a year earlier. Rural employment growth has lagged behind urban areas since the first half of 2011. About two-fifths of the rural employment growth deficit is due to rural counties having a lower population growth trend and an older, less well-educated workforce.

  • Agritourism Farms Are More Diverse Than Other U.S. Farms

    Amber Waves, October 06, 2014

    Agritourism involves attracting paying visitors to farms by offering farm tours, harvest festivals, hospitality services (such as bed and breakfast), petting zoos, and other attractions. Farms that provide agritourism services also typically produce agricultural commodities and may provide a variety of other goods and services.

  • What Happened to the “'Creative Class' Job Growth Engine” During the Recession and Recovery?

    Amber Waves, October 06, 2014

    The severity of the 2007/09 economic recession and the subsequent slow rural recovery has heightened interest in the concept of economic resilience: the ability of a local economy to bounce back from declines in employment, earnings, and output. One human capital resource that may facilitate this flexibility is the share of local employment in the “creative class.”

  • Selected Charts 2014, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials

    AP-067, September 12, 2014

    Examples from ERS's updated collection of 70 charts/maps, each with accompanying text, covering key statistics on farming, food spending and prices, food security, rural communities, interaction of agriculture and the environment, and more.

  • Rural Employment Trends in Recession and Recovery

    ERR-172, August 25, 2014

    National nonfarm employment fell by 6.3 percent from its peak in January 2008 to its nadir in February 2010. Nonmetro employment recovered just 0.2 percent from the fourth quarter 2010 to 2013, versus 3.6 percent in metro areas.

  • 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.

  • Poverty and Deep Poverty Increasing in Rural America

    Amber Waves, March 04, 2014

    Examining poverty over time shows that the recent economic recession has resulted in the highest rural poverty rates since the mid-1980s, another period when an economic recession and slow rural recovery resulted in rising rural poverty rates. The 2007-2009 recession and subsequent slow recovery have resulted in substantial increases in poverty, especially among children.