— A new tool helps the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico assess wildfire and populations at risk.read moreof Assessing Wildfire and Populations at Risk
— Identify neighborhoods in six Great Lakes cities that meet socioeconomic vulnerability criteria.read moreof Great Lakes Cities Vulnerability Assessment Tool
— Our latest research on timber transitions, improving coal fiscal policies, planning for wildfire risk in Montana, and staff commentary on county poverty rates and youth migration in the West.read moreof Newsletter: December 2017
— Western counties once dependent on timber today perform similarly to like-sized counties. Three case studies outline economic lessons from counties that weathered the timber transition.read moreof Lessons from the Timber Transition
— Western counties are experiencing a wide disparity in youth migration. While some are attracting and keeping young adults and families, others are struggling.read moreof Youth Migration in the West
— While national poverty rates dropped in the last year, the county-level picture is mixed.read moreof Which Counties Saw Significant Changes in Poverty Rates?
— Updated: The Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire program now helps 30 communities reduce wildfire risk through improved land use planning.read moreof Communities Reduce Wildfire Risk Through Land Use Planning
— Our latest research on helping communities reduce wildfire risk, the latest data and updated tools to help users better understand their economy, the West-Wide Atlas, and the Economic Profile System.read moreof Newsletter: November 2017
— Explore socioeconomic and land use trends in the western eleven states.
Updated July 2019 with latest available population, economic, and land ownership data.
— Understanding your local economy and how it compares to peers is a crucial part of community and economic development.read moreof Know Your Economy: Tools for Every Community
— Slide show: A theory of economic development in the rural West.read moreof Strengthening Rural Communities (slides)
— Coal fiscal policies vary widely across the West in terms of how revenue is generated, set aside in permanent savings, or spent by state and local governments.read moreof Comparing Coal Fiscal Policies for Western States
— County governments, fire districts and service areas, and landowners have many opportunities to reduce wildfire risk in the wildland-urban interface through land use planning tools and strategies, though challenges in Montana’s regulatory framework remain.read moreof Planning Tools to Reduce Montana’s Wildfire Risk
— Our latest research on best practices to fund state outdoor recreation, Montana's economy, Taos and wildfire, and blog commentary from staff.read moreof Newsletter: September 2017
— Hispanics account for roughly one in four westerners and one in six rural westerners.read moreof The Growth of Hispanic Populations Across the West
— Lack of access to a vehicle, poverty, and disabilities, can make evacuation difficult or impossible for some households.read moreof Disasters and Populations at Risk: Lack of Vehicle Makes Evacuation Difficult
— A lack of land use planning amplified the devastation from Hurricane Harvey. Wildfire-prone communities should take note.read moreof Fire & Flood: Lessons from Hurricane Harvey for Wildfire
— Seven case studies illustrate best practices and lessons learned to develop programs for outdoor state recreation funding.read moreof Best Practices for States to Fund Outdoor Recreation
— Our latest research on the importance of non-labor income, minority populations in the rural West, assistance to communities to reduce wildfire risk, and new data showing commercial activities on National Forests.read moreof Newsletter: August 2017
— National interactive map and charts show Medicaid-dependent counties and populations at risk.read moreof Which Counties Are Most Reliant on Medicaid?
— This report summarizes Montana’s economy analyzing recent growth and what is driving its performance, including a description of how federal lands help attract people, investment, and businesses.read moreof Montana’s Economy, Public Lands, and Competitive Advantage
— This research and interactive charts show that the local economies adjacent to all 17 national monuments studied in the West expanded following the monument’s creation.read moreof The Economic Importance of National Monuments to Communities
— This story map provides Taos County residents with information about the ecological role of fire, the region’s wildfire risk, forest restoration projects, and emergency preparedness.read moreof Resilient Taos County: Living with Wildfire
— Minority populations are growing in nearly all rural western counties, helping booming communities expand and slowing the decline in counties that otherwise would have lost people.read moreof Minority Populations Driving County Growth in the Rural West
— Non-labor income sources such as investments, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid often are the largest and fastest growing sources of personal income for many counties. Rural counties especially are surprisingly dependent on non-labor income.read moreof Economy Surprisingly Dependent on Non-Labor Income
— A guide to planning for the long-term social, economic and environmental well-being of the community of Colstrip, Montana.read moreof The Context and Status of Colstrip’s Coal-Fired Power Plant
— Our latest research on proposed budget cuts to county payments, identifying populations at risk, comparing socioeconomic trends in Gunnison County, Colorado to adjacent counties, and rural economic development in Lincoln, Montana.read moreof Newsletter: July 2017
— Many rural western towns face economic uncertainty. This report—informed by interviews and public meetings with residents—compares Lincoln to peer communities and outlines rural economic development options building on the town’s strengths.read moreof Rural Economic Development in Lincoln, Montana
— New analysis and interactive map show how the President's budget proposal cuts county payments and the impact for every county in the nation.read moreof President’s Budget Proposal Cuts County Payments
— Our latest research on the local economic importance of National Monuments, the impact of every National Park Service unit to gateway communities, and details for public lands in every county and state in the nation.read moreof Newsletter: June 2017
— Assess the UPDATED trends and performance of four key economic indicators in communities adjacent to national monuments: population, employment, personal income, and per capita income.read moreof National Monuments: Economic Performance Before and After Designation
— Our latest research on the rural West, communities at risk from closing coal plants, improving wildfire policy to reduce risks and costs, and using the latest data to better understand the characteristics of your community—whether age, housing costs, race, poverty, or education.read moreof Newsletter: April 2017
— The rural West matters for at least three important reasons: the vitality of the region’s landscape; its impact on local, state, and national politics; and the future of the area’s people and communities.read moreof Why the Rural West Matters
— Headwaters Economics compiled a number of regional reports, case studies, tools, research library, and related news articles on the value of public lands to nearby communities.read moreof The Value of Public Lands
— Slide show: The role of federal lands in rural development.read moreof The Economic Value of Federal Public Lands (slides)
— Wildfire experts outline key science insights important to inform policy discussions and development while reducing future risks and costs.read moreof Wildfire Experts’ Paper Informs Effective Policy
— Explore socioeconomic trends in Gunnison County and neighboring Colorado counties.read moreof Comparing Trends and Prosperity in Gunnison County
— While most western rural counties are aging and losing young families, the loss of school kids in rural western counties with protected lands such as National Monuments was, on average, less than half the rate of loss for similar counties without protected lands.read moreof Rural Communities, School Kids, and Federal Lands in the West
— This post compares economic and demographic characteristics of communities where coal-fired power plants have recently retired or are scheduled to retire.read moreof Communities at Risk from Closing Coal Plants
— Unlike most countries and state governments, the U.S. has not created a natural resources trust which could help meet volatility and spending challenges facing local and county governments.read moreof Time to Create a Natural Resources Trust
— Our latest research on the value of federal public lands, manufacturing in the West, economic data and trends for communities, and government employment's role in local economies.read moreof Newsletter: February 2017
— Update: Rural counties in the West with more federal lands performed better on average than their peers with less federal lands in four key economic measures.read moreof Federal Lands in the West: Liability or Asset?
— Rural counties in the West with more federal lands performed better on average than their peers with less federal lands in four key economic measures. Explore the trends and exceptions across the rural West.read moreof Federal Lands in the Rural West: Liability or Asset?
— Recent trends in manufacturing and what they mean for the people and communities of the American West, with insights for rural areas in particular.read moreof The Changing Role of Manufacturing in the U.S. and Insights for the Rural West
— This tool explores socioeconomic trends in Gunnison County, Colorado and compares them to neighboring counties and the state of Colorado.read moreof Measuring Prosperity in Gunnison County, Colorado