Publications

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  • Rural America at a Glance, 2017 Edition

    EIB-182, November 16, 2017

    The rural population is shrinking due to outmigration of young adults, fewer births, increased mortality among working-age adults, and an aging population. Rural job growth since 2011 has been well below the urban growth rate.

  • Rural Manufacturing Survival and Its Role in the Rural Economy

    Amber Waves, October 25, 2017

    Manufacturing provides more jobs and higher earnings in rural areas than many other sectors. Manufacturing is also relatively more important to the rural than urban economy. However, U.S. manufacturing employment has been declining since the 1950s. A better understanding of the factors affecting the survival of rural manufacturing plants may help develop strategies to retain these jobs.

  • Veterans Are Positioned To Contribute Economically to Rural Communities

    Amber Waves, September 05, 2017

    Veterans are a rapidly aging and increasingly diverse group disproportionally represented by rural Americans. Nearly 19 million veterans lived in the United States in 2015, about 3.4 million of them were located in rural areas. Examining data from the U.S. Census Bureau can reveal information about who they are, where they live, the type of work they do, and how they fare economically.

  • Rural Manufacturing at a Glance, 2017 Edition

    EIB-177, August 21, 2017

    Despite declining rural manufacturing employment between 2001 and 2015, the manufacturing sector is relatively more important as a source of employment and earnings to the rural economy than it is to the urban economy.

  • Urban Areas Offer Higher Earnings for Workers With More Education

    Amber Waves, July 03, 2017

    Education is often closely linked with economic outcomes. The most recent data from the Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey show that workers with higher levels of education had higher median earnings, both in rural and urban areas. The data also show that jobs in urban areas are likely to pay more than in rural areas, especially for workers with higher levels of education.

  • Increased Demand for U.S. Agricultural Exports Would Likely Lead to More U.S. Jobs

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2017

    A recent ERS study modeled the employment effects of a hypothetical 10-percent increase in foreign demand for U.S. agricultural exports.

  • The Potential Effects of Increased Demand for U.S. Agricultural Exports on Metro and Nonmetro Employment

    ERR-227, April 07, 2017

    This report models the economic effects of a hypothetical 10-percent increase in foreign demand for U.S. agricultural exports.

  • Rural Education at a Glance, 2017 Edition

    EIB-171, April 06, 2017

    Educational attainment is growing in rural America, but gains vary across demographic groups. Low education in some rural areas is closely related to high poverty and unemployment rates.

  • Using the ERS County Economic Types To Explore Demographic and Economic Trends in Rural Areas

    Amber Waves, December 05, 2016

    ERS’s County Typology Codes allow for the analysis of recent rural demographic and economic trends across economic specializations.

  • Rural America at a Glance, 2016 Edition

    EIB-162, November 14, 2016

    After declining for several years, rural population stabilized. Median annual earnings rose in rural areas and poverty fell markedly in 2015, as in urban areas; the rise in earnings occurred across most major industry sectors.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.