Publications

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  • The Gulf Opportunity Zone Helped Affected Counties Recover Economically After Hurricane Katrina

    Amber Waves, October 03, 2016

    Holding other factors constant, such as assistance from traditional disaster relief programs, findings show significant differences in income and employment growth between counties that suffered relatively small losses from Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Opportunity Zone and similar counties outside of that zone.

  • 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.

  • 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

    Rural counties as a whole saw a higher rate of employment decline than urban areas in the recession, and rural employment growth has lagged well behind metro growth in the recovery. See October Amber Waves.

  • 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.