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Migration & Population Trends in the West Vary by County Type

County migration and population trends in the West are constantly changing due to demographic and economic forces. We summarize the counties according to four typologies: high-wage services, farm-dependent, oil and natural gas boom, and retirement destinations.

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The Tongass Transition Framework: A New Path Forward?

This report examines whether the Tongass National Forest’s Transition Framework, which proposed a “new path forward,” is working to enhance economic opportunities for southeast Alaska communities while conserving the National Forest.

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Time to Create a Natural Resources Trust

It’s time to create a natural resources trust. Unlike most countries and state governments, the U.S. has not created a natural resources trust. This essay uses timber and offshore payments to show how a fund would work to meet volatility and spending challenges.

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Chris Mehl Chris Mehl

Know Your Economy: Economic Tools Updated for Every County

INSIGHT, Dec. 4, 2014: Understanding the local economy, and how it compares to peers, is a crucial part of smart community and economic development. Headwaters Economics just uploaded the latest data (through 2013) from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for every county in the nation.

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Ben Alexander Ben Alexander

Understanding the Recreation Economy on Nearby Public Lands

INSIGHT, Nov. 20, 2014: How can communities measure and take advantage of the economic impacts of nearby outdoor recreation activities on public lands?

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Chris Mehl Chris Mehl

Getting the Economics Right: Communities, National Forests, and Local Development Decisions

INSIGHT, Nov. 17, 2014: Getting the economics right is important for communities to compete in a modern economy. We’ve created a number of tools to help rural, western communities better understand current trends as well as the role of the nearby National Forest or other public lands.

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Mark Haggerty Mark Haggerty

Time for a U.S. Natural Resources Trust?

INSIGHT, Nov. 13, 2014: Compared to other nations and even U.S. states, the federal government is a conspicuous laggard in creating a natural resources trust which would allow for stable, permanent, and ever rising payments to states and local governments without risks to taxpayers.

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Megan Lawson Megan Lawson

On Halloween, Many Counties with High Death Rates Still Growing

INSIGHT, Oct. 30, 2014: It’s All Hallow’s Eve, so we decided to look at western counties where the dead most recently were living. But a high death rate does not mean a county is faring poorly. Like most things, it’s complicated.

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Megan Lawson Megan Lawson

Baby Boomers Move Near Protected Lands, Help Drive Economies

INSIGHT, Oct. 29, 2014: Protected federal lands (such as Wilderness or National Parks) not only preserve unique landscapes, but have the potential to attract in-migrants such as baby boomers, which in turn help support a robust local economy.

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Ray Rasker Ray Rasker

Today’s Economy, Political Rhetoric Too Often Don’t Match

INSIGHT, Oct. 24, 2014: Today’s economy is much different than what we hear in the rhetoric from current politicians. We need our leaders to wrestle with current problems rather than old ones.

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