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.
Youth Migration in the West
Western counties are experiencing a wide disparity in youth migration. While some are attracting and keeping young adults and families, others are struggling.
Which Counties Saw Significant Changes in Poverty Rates?
While national poverty rates dropped in the last year, the county-level picture is mixed.
Know Your Economy: Tools for Every Community
Understanding your local economy and how it compares to peers is a crucial part of community and economic development.
Strengthening Rural Communities (slides)
Slide show: A theory of economic development in the rural West.
The Growth of Hispanic Populations Across the West
Hispanics account for roughly one in four westerners and one in six rural westerners.
Best Practices for States to Fund Outdoor Recreation
Seven case studies illustrate best practices and lessons learned to develop programs for outdoor state recreation funding.
Which Counties Are Most Reliant on Medicaid?
National interactive map and charts show Medicaid-dependent counties and populations at risk.
Montana’s Economy, Public Lands, and Competitive Advantage
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.
Minority Populations Driving County Growth in the Rural West
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.
Economy Surprisingly Dependent on Non-Labor Income
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.
The Context and Status of Colstrip’s Coal-Fired Power Plant
A guide to planning for the long-term social, economic and environmental well-being of the community of Colstrip, Montana.
Rural Economic Development in Lincoln, Montana
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.
Why the Rural West Matters
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.
Comparing Trends and Prosperity in Gunnison County
Explore socioeconomic trends in Gunnison County and neighboring Colorado counties.
Rural Communities, School Kids, and Federal Lands in the West
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.
Communities at Risk from Closing Coal Plants
This post compares economic and demographic characteristics of communities where coal-fired power plants have recently retired or are scheduled to retire.
Federal Lands in the West: Liability or Asset?
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.
The Changing Role of Manufacturing in the U.S. and Insights for the Rural West
Recent trends in manufacturing and what they mean for the people and communities of the American West, with insights for rural areas in particular.
As Energy Market Forces Shift Coal Woes West, Transition Planning Should Follow
The new Administration’s plans to remove coal regulations should not dampen efforts to shift coal transition planning West to assist displaced workers and diversify coal-dependent communities.