An area's economic and social characteristics have significant effects on its development and need for various types of public programs. To provide policy-relevant information about diverse county conditions to policymakers, public officials, and researchers, ERS has developed a set of county-level typology codes that captures differences in economic and social characteristics.
The 2004 County Typology codes classify all U.S. counties according to six non-overlapping categories of economic dependence and seven overlapping categories of policy-relevant themes. The economic types include farming, mining, manufacturing, services, Federal/State government, and unspecialized counties. The policy types include housing stress, low education, low employment, persistent poverty, population loss, nonmetro recreation, and retirement destination. In addition, a code identifying counties with persistent child poverty is available.
In July 2014, an update to the persistent poverty codes was made available here. A map and brief discussion of the current persistent poverty designations are also available. In May 2015, and update to the persistent child poverty codes was made, see a map and discussion of the latest county designations.
An update of all County Typology codes is planned later in 2015.