A 2023 study from Headwaters Economics shows that qualifications from federal grant programs disproportionately hurt under-resourced rural areas.Related research
Recent press coverage of research by Headwaters Economics.
Powell County and Deer Lodge focus on jobs and housing
Cooley said a study of potential statewide impacts conducted by the Bozeman-based firm Headwaters Economics showed that the alternative transportation route would bring $229 million in visitor spending, 2,500 new jobs, and $22.8 million in new tax revenue.Related research
‘Where is this money going to come from’: Local match rules keep rural communities from federal grants
“We know that communities really struggle when a disaster hits, and we also know that these disasters are getting more frequent and more extreme,” said Kristin Smith, the head researcher on the Headwaters Economics study. “One of my big questions is how are we ensuring that rural and disadvantaged communities have the money, the staffing, the capacity, just the resources that they need for the future?”Related research
Patty Hernandez: Montana must build housing for the fires and floods of tomorrow
The Governor’s Housing Task Force was charged with an enormous job: identify solutions to build more homes and ease Montana’s housing crisis.
Every Montanan deserves affordable, attainable housing. Legislation that considers the task force’s report can help us get there.
But if we want new housing to be safe, healthy and durable, we must also ask how can we build new housing today that is ready for the floods, wildfires and heat waves of tomorrow?Related research
Barriers prevent rural communities from accessing climate funds
“About 60% of the funding is going to require a local match,” says Kristin Smith, applied researcher at Headwaters Economics. “Local matches are really features of federal funding, they have been for decades. But as we’re thinking about how to help communities get the resources that they need, the local match can actually be a barrier to accessing that funding.”Related research
The unexpected barrier preventing American small towns from accessing federal climate funds
The analysis — by Headwaters Economics, an independent research group that focuses on community development and land management — warns that local match requirements are putting rural communities in particular at a disadvantage. Many lack the resources to both apply for grant projects and also to sustain their portion of funding through the lifetime of a project.Related research
Feds send $930 million to curb ‘crisis’ of US West wildfires
“Given the scale of how much needs to be done, we are just skimming the surface,” said Headwaters Economics researcher Kimiko Barrett. “Risks are increasing at a scale and magnitude that we haven’t seen historically. You’re seeing entire neighborhoods devastated.”Related research
Economic think tank spotlights Mountain West ‘micropolitans,’ but ignores wealth inequalities
While the report highlights a number of growth factors, [Megan Lawson, an economist with the nonprofit research group] said it leaves out data on income and housing inequalities. She pointed to No. 2-ranking Jackson, Wyo., and Teton County, which boasts the highest per capita average income in the country, putting housing out of reach for teachers and police officers.Related research
Can America’s low-cost mobile homes withstand the climate crisis?
In her research with the non-profit Headwaters Economics, [Dr. Kristin] Smith found that more than one in five mobile homes in Montana are situated in high flood risk neighborhoods – something that the state has been waking up to.Related research
Share of rent-burdened households drops in Montana, Census Bureau says
That came as a surprise to economist Megan Lawson with Headwaters Economics in Bozeman, who examined the five-year data.
“Rents increased over that time period across the state, but incomes increased more,” Lawson said.Related research
Wildfires are more frequent, getting worse — and straining government budgets
“For many, many years and decades, really those other costs that come to the surface following a wildfire event have been overlooked,” said Kimiko Barrett, a wildfire researcher and policy lead at Headwaters Economics in Montana.Related research
Millions of homes are being built in fire-prone areas of Mountain West as wildfire risks grow
“It’s concerning the fact that we continue to grow in high wildfire risk areas, rebuild in high wildfire risk areas, assuming that a wildfire won’t occur,” said Kimiko Barrett, a wildfire researcher with the Montana-based research group Headwaters Economics.Related research
It’s Public Land. But the Public Can’t Reach It. ￼Edit
“That would affect more than wealthy landowners, said Megan Lawson of Headwaters Economics, a community development nonprofit in Bozeman, Mont.
“Amenity economies depend on guiding services, lodging and hospitality in general,” Ms. Lawson said. “That’s the lifeblood of the economy in several states.”Related research
Colorado wildfire was most costly in the region
Wildfire Researcher Kimiko Barrett with Headwaters Economics says those homes were built close together and had high property values, increasing insurance claims.
She says urban areas traditionally thought of as safe from wildfires are more exposed as fires intensify.
“It’s entire neighborhoods being burned, in some cases hundreds, if not thousands, of structures being lost in one wildfire,” she said. “These trends unfortunately are going to increase because the risks are increasing across the board.”Related research
Mountain West housing markets may be cooling down ￼
“In the last few months, the Fed has been raising interest rates,” said Megan Lawson, an economist with Headwaters Economics. “And that’s slowing down new home purchases because borrowing costs are just more expensive.”Related research
Making room for the river: Communities look at nature-based solutions
So far, Mississippi River communities have also received a smaller percentage of BRIC dollars than coastal states, according to a Headwaters Economics analysis.Related research
How To Improve Community Wildfire Defense Grants To Build Rural Resilience
Organizations such as Headwaters Economics have developed tools for federal agencies to identify at-risk populations and have begun exploring data that can measure capacity. These creative and innovative tools may be useful to a range of communities that are often missed by traditional measures of income and vulnerability.Related research
A breakdown of the big bucks visitors spend at national parks
Montana-based nonprofit research group Headwaters Economics compiles National Park Service data annually, and this week it published data showing that NPS units — which can include national monuments, forts, historical locations, parks and preserves — saw a big surge in visitors from 2020 to 2021.Related research
Experts say it’s time to think beyond battling wildfires — and find a way to live with them
“Currently, at the federal level, through the land management agencies — primarily the U.S. Forest Service — we’re spending $65 million per wildfire, which is doubling the cost since 1999,” said Kimi Barrett, a wildfire and policy analyst with Headwaters Economics, a nonpartisan independent research organization based in Bozeman, Montana.Related research
When a housing crisis meets a megaflood
Kris Smith, a researcher at Bozeman-based Headwaters Economics, said that when the flood hit, one of her first thoughts was: “What’s going to be the plan for making sure that we’re not worsening the housing crisis that we know is already existing in Montana?”Related research