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Appalachian Regional Commission

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

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Lending Rules for Rural or Underserved Counties in 2018. CFPB Provides an Updated List of Rural or Underserved Counties for 2018. 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).

Federal Reserve Banks

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.


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.

Rural Minnesota Community and Economic Development Resource Guide (PDF) 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.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) - Rural America at a Glance, 2017 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.

USDA ERS Food Desert Atlas - 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 and other information by visiting this page.

ERS Rural Classifications - 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.

ERS 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.

National Rural Development Partnership (NRDP) (PDF) 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.

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.

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 (PDF).

List of USDA State Rural Development Offices

Other Resources

Access to Capital and Credit in Appalachia Financial Crisis and Recession on Commercial Lending and Finance in the Region, (PDF) 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 (PDF) 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.

CDFI Coverage Map. This Opportunity Finance Network map provides a tool that may be used by elected officials, bank investors, and other entities to learn more about the community development financial institutions (CDFI) industry's geographic reach and scale. The map includes more than 270,000 nationwide locations where individuals, businesses, facilities, and other CDFI borrowers have benefited from $27.6 billion in financing by 217 entities that have been certified as CDFIs by the U.S. Department of Treasury's CDFI Fund. The map options include multifamily housing. The map also illustrates locations of CDFI funding so that a viewer can determine whether the location is urban or rural.

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.

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.

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. Get the report (PDF).

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.