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Publications

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90 publications, sorted by date 

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 ex...
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 slowin...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amber Waves, December 16, 2013
Energy Development’s Impacts on Rural Employment Growth.
ERR-159, November 21, 2013
Production of wind power, corn-based ethanol, and unconventionally extracted natural gas more than doubled overall from 2000 to 2010. ERS looks at the contribution these emerging-energy industries have made to local economies.
EB-24, November 07, 2013
Since 2011, net job growth in nonmetro areas has been near zero while metro employment has grown 1.4 percent annually. Meanwhile, the first recorded period of nonmetro population loss occurred between 2010 and 2012.
EB-25, November 07, 2013
Veterans possess education and skill levels that position them to contribute economically to rural communities. ERS presents a social and demographic profile of veterans residing in rural areas.
AP-062, September 16, 2013
This collection of nine charts and maps presents essential information on the farm sector, food spending and prices, food security, rural communities, and the interaction of agriculture and natural resources.
EB-23, June 20, 2013
Rural household Internet and broadband subscription rates generally fall below urban rates, but rural areas gained broadband subscribers faster in 2009-10.
Amber Waves, April 01, 2013
Farm households that also operate nonfarm businesses have accounted for about 18 percent of U.S. farm households since the 1990s. In 2007, farmer-owned nonfarm businesses employed over 800,000 nonfarm workers and contributed an estimated $55 billion to their local communities’ gross county product.
EIB-107, February 04, 2013
Key elements of proposed tax reform, reducing accelerated deductions for capital purchases and raising capital gains tax rates, could increase tax liabilities for many farmers. Other elements could reduce tax liabilities.
EB-21, December 13, 2012
This update in the annual series focuses on U.S. recovery from the 2007-09 recession, with recovery slower in nonmetro than in metro areas. As of July 2012, nonmetro employment, e.g., remained more than 3 percent below its 2007 peak.
Amber Waves, December 05, 2012
Concentrated poverty has increased in the U.S. over the last decade, particularly in nonmetropolitan areas and in areas with distinct racial/ethnic minority populations. Deteriorating economic conditions, namely rising unemployment, have driven the increase in nonmetro concentrated poverty.
EIB-101, October 31, 2012
Nearly a third of U.S. farm households generate income by engaging in business ventures independent of commodity production, creating $26.7 billion in household income in 2007, from both on- and off-farm enterprises.
Amber Waves, September 20, 2012
Rural development efforts that create and maintain a broad portfolio of wealth may be central to sustainable rural prosperity.
ERR-134, May 16, 2012
A number of rural development initiatives have targeted farm-related activities (e.g., agritourism, energy production). ERS examines the characteristics of farms and farm households involved in such activities.
ERR-131, March 14, 2012
No wealth creation strategy will work in all contexts. Rural communities able to identify strategies best suited to their existing wealth endowments and local priorities are likely in the best position to create wealth.
Amber Waves, March 01, 2012
Growth in per capita income averaged about $600 higher in DRA-funded nonmetro counties in 2002-07 than in similarly distressed counties outside the region, mainly due to increased health and social services sector earnings and increased medical transfer payments.
EIB-85, September 26, 2011
As incomes rise in China, consumers are demanding greater quality, convenience, and safety in food. Recent changes in China’s food market landscape warrant a new assessment of its food demand.
ERR-123, August 18, 2011
ERS looks at direct and indirect impacts of higher energy prices on the agricultural and rural sectors, with scenarios developed for specific energy price changes.
ERR-119, June 23, 2011
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) began funding rural development projects in economically distressed counties in the Mississippi River Delta region in 2002. To assess the initial economic outcomes of DRA funding, we compared nonmetropolitan DRA counties with similar counties elsewhere in the same...
Amber Waves, December 01, 2010
Nearly half of the Nation’s nonmetropolitan counties lost population through net outmigration between 1988 and 2008, but the underlying causes and potential policy solutions vary widely.
ERR-107, November 12, 2010
Over a third of U.S. nonmetropolitan counties lost at least 10 percent of their population through net outmigration during the past two decades. ERS compares characteristics of such counties with other nonmetro counties.
EIB-68, September 13, 2010
Rural America At A Glance, 2010 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 2010 edition focuses on the U.S. rural economy, including employment trends, poverty, and demographics...
ERR-99, June 21, 2010
A series of coordinated case studies compares the structure, size, and performance of local food supply chains with those of mainstream supply chains in delivering locally produced food to consumers.
Amber Waves, March 01, 2010
The rates of employment loss and unemployment in the recent recession are about the same in metro and nonmetro areas, but based on previous recessions, nonmetro employment may recover more slowly. As in past recessions, manufacturing-dependent nonmetro counties felt the effects of the recessions so...
EIB-63, February 18, 2010
ERS documents the changing distribution and character of small farms as ag production becomes more concentrated. Commercially oriented small farms, those accounting for most small-farm production, continue to decline in number in the face of large-farm competition.
ERR-91, February 12, 2010
ERS presents, for the first time, estimates of farm households’ consumption expenditures and compares them to consumption estimates for all U.S. households. Consumption can complement indicators of household income in assessing economic well-being.
EIB-62, December 07, 2009
Beginning, limited-resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers make up as much as 40 percent of all U.S. farms. Some Federal conservation programs contain provisions that encourage participation by such “targeted” farmers and the 2008 Farm Act furthered these efforts. This report compares the natur...
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. Bot...
Amber Waves, September 01, 2009
Investment in rural broadband Internet access seems to lead to a more competitive rural economy and rural economic growth, helping create a rural digital economy. A comparison of the economic growth of counties with broadband access in 2000 with that of otherwise similar counties without broadband s...
ERR-78, August 17, 2009
Broadband access is necessary to fully utilize Internet potential, and rural areas without broadband access may be disadvantaged. ERS examines recent growth in broadband access in rural areas and the impacts of broadband on their economies.
EIB-57, August 17, 2009
ERS examines available research on health status trends of farm and rural households, their health care coverage and expenditures, and access to health care resources in rural and urban areas.
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.
EIB-48, April 01, 2009
This book contains a sampling of recent ERS research illustrating the breadth of the Agency's research on current policy issues: from biofuels to food consumption to land conservation to patterns of trade for agricultural products.
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.
AP-031, January 02, 2009
Among the many responsibilities of USDA are implementing the Food Stamp Program and other food and nutrition assistance programs; managing Federal forest land; implementing standards of humane care and treatment of animals; providing incentives for adopting wildlife habitat enhancements and other co...
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 non...
Amber Waves, June 01, 2008
The use of different definitions of rural by Federal agencies reflects the multidimensional qualities of rural America.
Amber Waves, February 01, 2008
Average earnings are lower in nonmetro areas than in metro areas, even after accounting for differences in the individual characteristics of nonmetro earners. The nonmetro-metro earnings gap is greater for workers with more education and more experience. For nonmetro households, lower earnings may b...
ERR-53, December 31, 2007
Farm-based recreation provides an important niche market for farmers, but limited empirical information is available on the topic. Access to two USDA databases, the 2004 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and the 2000 National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, provided researcher...
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 ...
Amber Waves, May 01, 2007
Rural communities have changed dramatically since 1990 due to increased population from urban areas, shifts in age and ethnic composition, and economic and industrial restructuring. Increasing competition from abroad and sectoral shifts in employment present new challenges and opportunities in the ...
Amber Waves, April 01, 2007
Nonmetro America is less ethnically diverse and older than the rest of the country, though demographic trends indicate some changes lie ahead. Nonmetro populations will continue to be older than metro populations because a greater proportion of retirees are moving to nonmetro counties than metro cou...
Amber Waves, April 01, 2007
The creative class thesis-that towns need to attract engineers, architects, artists, and people in other creative occupations to compete in today's economy-may be particularly relevant to rural communities, which tend to lose much of their talent when young adults leave for college, the Armed Forces...
EIB-21, December 29, 2006
Rural Employment At A Glance is a six-page brochure that highlights the most recent indicators of employment and unemployment in rural areas. It documents changes and differences in metro and nonmetro employment growth, unemployment, earnings per job, and occupational mix, as well as differences acr...
Amber Waves, November 01, 2006
The prevalence of poverty has historically been greater in nonmetro than metro areas since poverty rates were first officially recorded. However, adjusting the official poverty measure for cost-of-living differences reverses the rankings of metro and nonmetro poverty. Such a reversal would have im...
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 decisio...
Amber Waves, July 01, 2006
This article addresses an unintended consequences of high levels of enrollment in the CRP, that of farmland retirement's impact of rural growth. To examine this issue, this article examines the local socioeconomic changes that accompanied CRP enrollment in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and discus...
Amber Waves, June 01, 2006
Hispanics increasingly meet labor demand arising from industry restructuring.
Amber Waves, April 01, 2006
Higher energy costs have led agricultural producers to substitute more expensive fuels with less expensive fuels, shift to less energy-intensive crops, and employ energy-conserving production practices where possible. Energy price increases will have the biggest impact on farmers where energy repre...
EB-1, March 14, 2006
A multitude of design decisions influence the performance of voluntary conservation programs. This Economic Brief is one of a set of five exploring the implications of decisions policymakers and program managers must make about who is eligible to receive payments, how much can be received, for what ...
WRS-0601, January 11, 2006
China has substantially boosted lending to farmers and agribusinesses in recent years. The balance of loans to farmers doubled between 2001 and 2005. Loans for agribusinesses and rural infrastructure rose as well. Rural credit cooperatives and banks that lend to agriculture are being reformed and co...
EIB-8, December 28, 2005
Rural Hispanics at a Glance provides the latest information from the 2000 Census and other Federal data sources about Hispanics living in nonmetro counties. This six-page brochure highlights growth and geographic dispersion, demographic characteristics, and the most recent indicators of social and e...
ERR-10, October 31, 2005
ERS examined the relationship between employment trends and industrial and occupational shifts in rural America. Among the findings: The share of low-skill jobs in the rural employment mix fell by 2.2 percentage points between 1990 and 2000, to 42.2 percent, slower than the 5-percentage-point drop i...
EIB-4, September 22, 2005
Rural America At A Glance, 2005 is a six-page brochure that 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 is the fourth in a series of reports that uses current social and economi...
ERR-7, August 09, 2005
Recreation and tourism development generally increases local employment, wage levels, and income in rural areas. Drawbacks include higher housing costs. Local effects vary significantly, depending on the type of recreation area.
EIB-1, April 06, 2005
Recent data on the demographic, social, and economic characteristics of rural children include comparison of metro and nonmetro poverty rates and participation in food assistance programs, as well as the geographic distribution of child poverty.
Amber Waves, April 01, 2005
Rural communities have changed dramatically since 1990 due to increased population from urban areas, shifts in age and ethnic composition, and economic and industrial restructuring. Increasing competition from abroad and sectoral shifts in employment present new challenges and opportunities in the ...
AIB-795, January 12, 2005
This six-page brochure provides the latest information on transportation in rural America. The effects of deregulation, devolution of Federal transportation responsibilities to the States, increased Federal funding, and heightened security concerns are discussed in the context of each of the individ...
AER-834, October 08, 2004
This report estimates the impact that high levels of enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) have had on economic trends in rural counties since the program’s inception in 1985 until today. The results of a growth model and quasi-experimental control group analysis indicate no discernib...
AIB-793, September 30, 2004
Rural America At A Glance, 2004 is a six-page brochure that 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 is the third in a series of reports that uses current social and economic...
RDRR-100, July 20, 2004
This publication provides the most recent information on poverty trends and demographic characteristics of the rural poor. The rate of poverty is not only an important social indicator of the well-being of the least well off, but it is also widely used as an input in shaping Federal policies and tar...
RDRR-99, May 28, 2004
Since 1980, the nonmetro Hispanic population in the United States has doubled and is now the most rapidly growing demographic group in rural and small-town America. By 2000, half of all nonmetro Hispanics lived outside traditional settlement areas of the Southwest. Many Hispanics in counties that ha...
RDRR-98, January 29, 2004
This report provides the latest information from the 2000 Census and other Federal sources on the education characteristics of rural workers and counties. It documents the steady rise in rural adult educational attainment in the 1990s and the increasing importance of education to rural workers and p...
AER-826, September 24, 2003
Although earnings generally increased in rural areas in the 1990s, Hispanic population growth led to lower wages for at least one segment of the rural population—workers with a high school degree (skilled workers), particularly men in this skill group. Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis...
RDRR-97-1, September 02, 2003
Rural America At A Glance is a six-page brochure that highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas. This brochure is the second in a series of reports that uses current social and economic dat...
RDRR-96, June 25, 2003
While the greater incidence of poverty in nonmetro relative to metro areas is well documented, there is little research as to whether it is deeper or more severe in nonmetro areas. This report examines metro-nonmetro differences in U.S. poverty rates, using data from Current Population Surveys (1991...
Amber Waves, February 03, 2003
At the beginning of the 21st century, some rural areas have shared in the economic progress of the Nation, while others have not. The opportunities and challenges facing rural America are as varied as rural America itself.
RA-174, January 14, 2003
This issue discusses a number of topics concerning rural America, including rural population loss and migration, recreation counties and their rapid growth, U.S.-China trade, federal funding in rural America, rural land ownership, rural infrastructure, and rural employment growth. Updates on rural c...
RDRR-95, December 30, 2002
An analysis of on-the-job computer use shows that such use is more common in metro areas than in nonmetro areas. A substantial wage premium, 10 to 11 percent, is associated with using a computer on the job, even after other job and worker characteristics are taken into account. However, this wage pr...
RDRR-94-1, September 13, 2002
Rural America At A Glance is a six-page brochure that highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas. This brochure is the first in a series of reports that uses current social and economic data...
WRS-0201, July 30, 2002
This report assesses the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on U.S. agriculture and trade. It also contains sections on investment, employment, the environment, and transportation, as well as detailed commodity assessments of the impact of NAFTA on trade.
FANRR-26-4, June 03, 2002
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act dramatically altered the social safety net for poor Americans, including the 7 million people living in poverty in nonmetro areas. This issue brief examines evidence from recent research about rural-urban differences in welfare refo...
RDRR-92, October 15, 2001
During 1995-97, 3.4 million workers were displaced from their jobs, of whom 500,000 (15 percent) were nonmetro workers. This report examines the displaced workers' experience in metro and nonmetro areas using survey and administrative data. Although nonmetro workers were less likely to be displaced ...
AIB-752, July 01, 1999
For U.S. agriculture to continue along a sustainable path of economic development, further production increases must be generated by technologies that are both profitable and more environmentally benign. In this context, we assess the role of these green or sustainable technologies in steering agric...
BLA-133, April 30, 1999
This annotated bibliography summarizes studies of the rural economic development implications of highway investment. Primary emphasis is on research dealing with rural areas, but some urban studies are also cited. Topics covered include the aggregate economic effects of highway investment, the effec...
AER-776, March 01, 1999
Establishments in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan locations are surprisingly similar in their adoption of new technologies, worker skill requirements, use of government programs and technical assistance, exports, and sources of financing, according to the results of a nationwide survey of 3,909 man...
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...

AIB-741, July 20, 1998
Many rural communities have benefited from the attraction of retirees in recent years. With the baby boom generation beginning to make retirement decisions, many other rural communities might consider economic development strategies based on attracting and retaining retirees. This report reviews the...
AIB-737, October 01, 1997
Factors related to local and regional economic growth are attractiveness to retirees, right-to-work laws, excellent high school completion rates, good public education expenditures, and access to transportation networks. These were associated with improved county earnings in 1979-89, according to a ...
AER-749, April 01, 1997
In response to a mandate in the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, this report provides information on the major financial institutions and Federal programs active in rural America, the performance of rural financial markets, and the costs and benefits of proposals to expand the...
AER-731, August 01, 1996
Rural minorities lag behind rural Whites and urban minorities on many crucial economic and social measures. This report examines rural Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian and Pacific Islander populations and their economic well-being in the 1980's, an economically difficult decade for rural ...
AIB-710, February 01, 1995
The diversity of rural America and the changes it has undergone in the last half century have resulted in a wide variety of economic conditions and needs. This full-color report documents changes in rural employment, population, and well-being for six categories of rural counties: those that depend ...
RDRR-49, September 18, 1985
Effective rural development planning depends on facts and analysis based, not on national rural averages, but on the diverse social and economic structure of rural America. Programs tailored to particular types of rural economies may be more effective than a generalized program. This study identifie...

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