Publications

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  • The Form of Rural Development Assistance Matters to Distressed Counties

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    The Federal Government provides three types of assistance to rural areas—grants, direct loans, and guaranteed loans. ERS researchers found that the form of assistance can make a difference for distressed areas, but the size and direction of this difference varies by type of distressed area.

  • 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.

  • Rural America At A Glance, 2009 Edition

    EIB-59, September 04, 2009

    Update of an annual series, the 2009 edition of Rural America At A Glance deals with effects of the major recession on rural America. Initially, effects of the recession were mitigated in nonmetro areas by high commodity prices throughout much of 2008, but as the recession deepened, prices fell. Both nonmetro and metro areas experienced rising unemployment as manufacturing and other major employment sectors contracted, and they were similarly affected by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. However, even before the current recession, nonmetro poverty rates had risen in the growth years after the 2001 recession, against the usual trend during a time of economic expansion; the nonmetro poverty rate has exceeded the national poverty rate since 2001. The nonmetro population continued to grow in 2007 and 2008, but at less than half the rate of the metro population. Nonmetro growth is largely due to a rise in births, offsetting a decline in net migration from metro to nonmetro areas.

  • 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.

  • Rural Broadband At A Glance, 2009 Edition

    EIB-47, February 27, 2009

    Six-page brochure presents information and data on broadband availability and use, and the relationship of broadband to rural businesses and to key services for rural residents.

  • Rural America At A Glance, 2008 Edition

    EIB-40, October 31, 2008

    Rural America At A Glance, 2008 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 2008 edition focuses on employment, poverty, population change, and demographic characteristics of nonmetro areas.

    Listen to a podcast 16x16 Multimedia - Podcast based on this report.

  • 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.

  • Rural America At A Glance, 2007 Edition

    EIB-31, October 01, 2007

    Rural America At A Glance, 2007 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 involved in efforts to enhance the economic opportunities and quality of life for rural people and their communities.

  • 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.

  • Behind the Data

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2005

    Indicators: Behind the Data - November 2005

  • Rural America as a Retirement Destination

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    ERS has identified 277 rural retirement-destination counties where the population age 60 and older grew by 15 percent or more in the 1990s through net inmigration. In contrast, only 36 rural counties qualified as retirement areas during 1950-60, when data were first available.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Profiles

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2004

    Amber Waves profiles - June 2004

  • 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.

  • Using the 2003 Urban Influence Codes To Understand Rural America

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    Population size, urbanization, and access to larger communities are often crucial elements in county-level research. To advance such research, ERS developed a set of county-level urban influence categories that captures some differences in economic opportunities.

  • 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.

  • 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.