Trends & Performance

Understanding major drivers of economic change–such as shifts in migration, non-labor income, and industry concentrations–is critical to making sound decisions about how to improve economic performance.

Report

Montana’s Outdoor Recreation Economy

— A new report highlights the role of Montana’s outdoor recreation economy in spending, jobs, and economic diversification.

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Populations at Risk

— Populations at Risk quickly and easily generates and downloads reports about populations more likely to experience adverse social, health, or economic outcomes.

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Report

Gallatin County’s Economy, Growth, and Open Space

— This report summarizes Gallatin County's economy, how it has grown, and what is driving its performance. The report also describes how growth threatens open space and the role these lands play in local quality of life.

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Report

Montana Losing Open Space

— From 1990 to 2016, the number of single-family homes in Montana grew by 50 percent, and the popularity of large lots converted 1.3 million acres of undeveloped land to housing.

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Report / Series: Rural West Insights

Lessons from the Timber Transition

— 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.

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Report

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.

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Report / Series: Rural West Insights

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.

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Report / Series: Rural West Insights

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.

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federal lands data visualization
DataViz

Federal Lands in the Rural 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.

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Headwaters-staff-Chris-Mehl
Chris Mehl
Blog

Know Your Economy: Economic Tools Updated for Every County

— Understanding the local economy, and how it compares to peers, is a crucial part of smart community and economic development. Several new tools, utilizing the latest data (through 2014), now are available for every county in the nation.

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featured-image-dataviz-three-wests
DataViz

Three Wests

— Research shows there are three distinctly different types of counties in the West, defined by their access to major markets and population centers.

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uhaul trucks
Report

Migration & Population Trends in the West Vary by County Type

— County migration and population trends in the West constantly change. We summarize counties into four types--high-wage services, farm-dependent, oil and natural gas boom, and retirement destinations--to show the relationship between population and economic structure.

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featured-image-three-wests-sortable-data
Report

Three Wests Sortable Data

— Review the economic and demographic differences between Metro, Connected and Isolated counties.

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Report

Non-Labor Income: Large and Growing in Importance Across the West

— Non-labor income is one of the largest and fastest growing sources of income in the West; constituting 34 percent of total personal income in 2011 and 60 percent of net growth in real personal income during the last decade.

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DataViz

Across the West, Non-Labor Income Is Large and Growing

— Among western counties, non-labor income makes up 41 percent of total personal income and is growing, representing 60 percent of net personal income growth in the last decade. Comprised of three main types—investments, age related, and hardship payments— non-labor income is affected by the stock market, retiring Baby Boomers, and changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

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DataViz

Non-Labor Income for Western Counties, Sortable Data Table

— Across the West, non-labor income is a large and growing source of personal income. This sortable county-level interactive allows users to review the importance of three largest sources of non-labor income: investments, age related, and hardship payments.

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DataViz

Atlas of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem

— This interactive website was created to help inform conservation goals and actions with knowledge of the geography and people in this unique region.

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map of Michigan's Upper Penninsula
Report

The Upper Peninsula’s Economy and a Changing Climate

— This post summarizes the Climate Adaptation Report which provides a description of key economic sectors at greatest risk from extreme weather or long-term climate shifts and is intended to prepare the region’s forests, water resources, and communities for a less certain future.

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Map with public lands: Western States

West Is Best Reports: News Release

— News release for report that shows how the western United States is outperforming the rest of the country and the role protected federal lands in providing western states a competitive economic advantage.

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riding horses on the rocky mountain front
Report

Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front

— This report analyzes the Front’s land, people, and economy, how the region has changed in important ways during the past several decades, and the potential impact of the proposed Rocky Mountain Heritage Act on the Front.

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Report

Western Counties and the Recession

— This study provides a number of lessons as the West slowly recovers from the recent recession about why some local economies performed better than others.

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scenic view of wild basin thunder lake
Report

Colorado’s Economy and the Role of Federal Protected Lands

— This report summarizes Colorado's economy and the role of federal protected lands, including how the state has performed, and Colorado's ability to attract people, investment, and businesses.

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Map showing growth of homes in the Wildland Urban Interface
Report

Missoula County Homes at Risk in Flood and Wildfire Areas

— These two slideshows and related information use Missoula County and Western Montana to show how many homes have been built in flood and wildfire hazard areas, which are vulnerable to larger and more frequent floods and fires.

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Map showing Montana portion of Crown of the Continent
Report

Crown of the Continent and Climate Change

— This report studies the possible effects of climate change in the Crown of the Continent on two “snow-pack” dependent sectors of the economy--downhill skiing and recreational fishing.

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Aerial of Yellowstone River
Report

Yellowstone River Atlas

— This site documents the economic and demographic conditions of counties bordering the Yellowstone River, and displays maps showing past, current, and forecasted residential development along the river.

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NM Natural Assets
Report

The Economic Benefits of Southern New Mexico’s Natural Assets

— This report examines how investments in conservation and restoration provide both an immediate return through employment and revenue and help promote long-term economic growth that extends far beyond tourism.

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