Nearly half of rural communities have grown so much since the 1970s they are now classified as “urban.” Those that remain are diverse, but often have more specialized economies.
State and federal fiscal policies hurt rural communities by limiting how local governments can grow, diversify, and invest revenue.
The number of western Montana homes in areas with high wildfire hazard has doubled, outpacing development rates in areas with low wildfire hazard.
As U.S. jobless claims reach historic levels from the coronavirus pandemic, find the latest county-level unemployment numbers.
Most U.S. states are adding electricity generation capacity faster than capacity is being retired. Renewable energy adds the most capacity in 18 states.
The capacity to generate electricity has transitioned from coal to natural gas to renewable energy, a trend projected to continue.
Where rural recreation counties rely on public funding for health care, fiscal solutions should diversify the ways local governments can save and spend.
View a presentation given at the Our America’s Rural Opportunity forum about the context of public lands and the rural west.
The outdoor recreation economy is large, growing faster than the overall economy, and consists of jobs in many industries. Explore data by state.
The most effective fiscal policies for communities facing transition away from coal dependency are those that build wealth over time and strengthen community capacity.
Montana’s outdoors attracts people and talent, creating jobs and a high quality of life. The outdoors is essential to the state’s future economic growth.
Funding for Montana’s working lands, wildlife, and outdoor recreation is not keeping pace as population, visitation, and development pressures expand.
Rural and isolated communities face wrenching economic and demographic transitions. A solution to uncertainty is to focus on resilience.
Updated: Headwaters Economics compiled 144 trails research studies on the impacts of trails in a single library, searchable by type of benefit, use, year, and region.
High worker productivity occurs across diverse counties and sectors but is not always connected with population growth and opportunity.
New fiscal and policy assessments help local leaders understand their exposure to declining revenue and policy barriers during a coal transition.
Investing in outdoor recreation is one of several strategies that can help rural communities thrive in a changing economy.
Recreation counties, especially in non-metro places, draw new residents and have higher incomes and faster earnings growth than places without recreation.
Communities and local leaders can utilize this trails toolkit to better understand whether and how trails can accomplish local goals, along with the cost and benefits of proposed projects.
Download socioeconomic reports for states and counties near Bureau of Land Management units.