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The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The annual Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. The Roadmaps provide guidance and tools to understand the data, and strategies that communities can use to move from education to action.

Access to Capital and Credit for Small Businesses in Appalachia, April 2013, National Community Reinvestment Coalition. This report provides an assessment of the access to capital and credit for small business in the Appalachian Region and updates the 2007 report. Research conducted for ARC by NCRC before the 2007–2010 financial crisis expressed cautious optimism that disparities in access to capital and credit between Appalachia and the nation as a whole were diminishing, and that the Region was becoming more like the nation as a whole in terms of access to lending.1 This study finds that the gap has widened since the recession, particularly in counties designated as “economically distressed” by ARC.

American Community Survey Guidebook Published for ACS Rural Data - A Compass for Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data: What Users of Data for Rural Areas Need to Know is intended to introduce the American Community Survey to those who use rural social, economic, and housing data. ACS will provide regularly updated data that can be updated frequently and will replace some of the data previously provided in the decennial Census.

American Housing Survey 2015 American Housing Survey (AHS) data - AHS is conducted every two years by the Census Bureau and HUD.

Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), established by an act of Congress in 1965, is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. ARC compiles data, creates maps, and conducts research and evaluations on key economic, demographic, and quality of life factors that affect the current and future development prospects of the Appalachian Region.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Lending Rules for Rural or Underserved Counties in 2014. CFPB Provides an Updated List of Rural or Underserved Counties for 2014. The annual list is used for several different regulations (Appraisals for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans rule, and Truth in Lending Act (Escrows Rule, Ability to Repay or ATR Rule, ATR Concurrent Rule, and HOEPA Rule)

Housing Assistance Council's Rural Data Portal, on-line, provides information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the United States. The PORTAL provides over 350 data indictors for rural communities. Most of the information provided comes from HAC tabulations of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, the American Community Survey (ACS) and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data.

List of USDA State Rural Development Offices

National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) provides training, advocacy, and information for regional development organizations primarily in rural communities. NADO also provides a network for its members to share ideas and innovative projects through its Economic Development Digest, which highlights best practices in rural economic development.

The National Rural Housing Coalition has published “Rural America’s Rental Housing Crisis: Federal Strategies to Preserve Access to Affordable Rental Housing in Rural Communities” which documents the successes of USDA’s rental housing programs and the challenges facing them now. Click here to get the report.

National Rural Development Partnership (NRDP) is a national initiative administered by USDA which uses state collaboratives to bring together key rural players in their states to address critical rural community concerns. The NRDP highlights effective strategies for rural community and economic development and also maintains a web clearinghouse on rural development.

Rural Minnesota Community and Economic Development Resource Guide lists local, statewide, and national agencies engaged in or supporting community and economic development in rural Minnesota. It provides financial institutions and their regulators as well as governmental, non-profit, and for-profit agencies with information supporting rural development in the following areas: Affordable Housing, Community Service, Entrepreneurship, Small Business Development, Small Farm Development, Technical, Leadership, and Planning Assistance, and Workforce Development.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has compiled a dataset and created the Small City Economic Dynamism Index to help policymakers and practitioners gain more nuanced perspectives. The index ranks 244 small U.S. cities across 14 indicators of economic dynamism in four categories: demographics, economics, human capital, and infrastructure.

USDA Rural Development has released a report on the growing importance of food hubs in rural America. The new report is titled “The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing”and finds that the success of food hubs is rapidly expanding, with well over 200 hubs now operating in the United States. Download a free copy here.

USDA, Treasury and HHS have defined a food desert as a census tract with a substantial share of residents who live in low-income areas that have low levels of access to a grocery store or healthy, affordable food retail outlet. Find out if a census tract qualifies as a food desert by visiting this page.


Rural Minnesota Community and Economic Development Resource Guide - The purpose of the resource guide is to provide community and economic development practitioners in rural Minnesota with a comprehensive list of agencies engaged in the field.

Foreclosure Prevention: Improving Contact with Borrowers (PDF) (June 2007) - This edition of OCC's Insights highlights best practices loan servicers are using to improve their contact rate with delinquent mortgage borrowers. These best practices include, but are not limited to, the use of sophisticated scoring models, customer friendly approaches, partnerships with nonprofit credit counselors, and web-based information on workout options.

Native American Banking Resource Directory - This directory provides descriptions and contact information for a sampling of organizations that can offer resources to banks and thrifts interested in lending, investing, or providing retail financial services in Indian country.

Understanding Employer Assisted Mortgage Programs: A Primer for National Banks (PDF) (August 2007) Abstract: This edition of OCC's Community Development Insights examines the primary risks and regulatory considerations associated with employer assisted mortgages. The report illustrates how lenders can implement their own successful employer assisted programs or work with other employers to create such initiatives. The paper also discusses how banks and thrifts participating in these programs may meet their Community Reinvestment Act obligations by providing mortgages to low- or moderate-income homebuyers or purchasers of properties in low- or moderate- income neighborhoods.

PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund have launched the Healthy Food Access Portal that connects community leaders, healthy food retailers, policymakers and advocates to an extensive array of resources, strategies and ideas to improve and increase access to healthy food retail—from grocery stores to corner stores, farmers' markets, and mobile produce trucks—in underserved communities. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the three organizations created the nation’s first comprehensive healthy food access retail portal and learning community designed to promote healthy food retail efforts in regions across the country. Access the Portal here.

Updated Congressional District Profiles - Congressional District Profiles. Each profile pulls from a variety of sources and illuminates several dimensions of housing affordability for renter households in each district, the surrounding area, and the state. Each profile is divided into three sections: District, Constituent Areas, and States.


The 2014 Farm Bill authorizes USDA to develop a Whole Farm Diversified Risk Management Insurance (Whole Farm revenue insurance for short) for highly diversified farms. This product will be available nationwide and include a strong diversification bonus. The farm bill also contains an important provision allowing the USDA Risk Management Agency to include coverage for the value of certain on-farm activities necessary to make a crop ready for market. On May 21, USAD Secretary Vilsack announced a new risk management option in the form of a pilot program offering coverage for fruits and vegetables, organic and diversified farms, for fruit and vegetable growers and producers with diversified farms. The policy, called Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, will provide flexible coverage options for specialty crop, organic and diversified crop producers. The program will be implemented in counties across the country and will expand in availability over the next several years. As part of the pilot, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection will be available where AGR and AGR-Lite are currently offered, and will expand to other counties as data are available for underwriting and actuarial ratemaking. Risk Management Agency (RMA) will release information on the policy later this summer when it becomes available. This information will be announced on the RMA website at

USDA has created a Learning Guide Series for small and mid-sized producers to help them navigate available USDA resources. The first in this series will be for small and mid-sized livestock and poultry producers. (Available here). Additional learning guides will be released later this year.

Economic Research Service - Measuring Rurality: ERS has developed several classifications to measure rurality and assess the economic and social diversity of rural America. The Rural-Urban Continuum Codes, the Urban-Influence Codes, and the Rural-Urban Commuting Areas are used to classify counties, census tracts, and ZIP codes by degree of rurality. The ERS’s State Fact Sheets provide information on population, income, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports, for each state in the United States.

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass is a digital guide to USDA resources that support regional food production and provide case studies of successful regional food projects. The interactive map feature includes data on food hubs, farmers markets, meat processing facilities and more, as well as data on USDA-supported projects in all 50 states and is searchable by key word and zip code.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Extension, research, and educational programs help individuals and families build financial assets instead of debt. Extension provides research-based information and education via courses, Web-based curricula, and other educational outlets for people to acquire knowledge, skills, and motivation to build financial security. The emphasis of programs is on behavioral change-developing a financial plan, managing risk of loss, reducing household debt, and saving and investing to meet life goals.

Recession's Rural Impacts Summarized Rural America At A Glance, The 2012 edition highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas.

Rural Development Housing Programs 2009, produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC), shows that USDA obligated approximately $19 billion in Fiscal Year 2009 for the production, repair, or support of over 350,000 units of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families in rural areas. Much of the information in this report derives from HAC tabulations of program data provided by USDA.

Updated State Data Sheets This site has the Economic Research Service's State Fact Sheets, which contain data on population, income, poverty, unemployment, and agriculture characteristics, have been updated with 2012 figures.

USDA Lender Interactive Network Connection (USDA LINC): United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Rural Business Service (RBS), Rural Housing Service (RHS), Rural Utilities Service (RUS).