One Size Does Not Fit All: Rural Communities in 2019

Title: A New Portrait of Rural America

Authors: Dante Chinni and Ari Pinkus

Source: American Communities Project

The American Communities Project (ACP) has released a new report examining the geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic variation of rural communities in the United Stated as of 2019, including in postsecondary educational attainment.

For the report, ACP categorized 2,243 communities into nine categories, highlighting the wide range in community types. The findings include:

  • Eighty-seven percent of the population in rural counties was non-Hispanic White, though the average varies by community type.
  • The largest employer in nearly every community type was classified as falling under “educational service, health care, and social assistance.”
  • Fifty-four percent of 25- to 44-year-olds in rural communities had some college education, though the number varied by community type, with Southern communities in which there are heavily concentrated African American populations, areas in the Southwest with high Hispanic populations, and Native American communities all falling below 50 percent. Nationally, 65 percent of individuals had some college education.
  • Except for the Hispanic centers in the Southwest, the three community types with the lowest averages for individuals with some college education were also the communities with the highest unemployment rates.

The report is accompanied by interactive maps for exploring community types and a range of county-level data points. If you are interested in reading the full report or using the interactive tools, please visit the ACP website.

—Yuan He

Higher Education Today