Category Archives: Regionalism

Rural Regions 2: The Regional Distribution of Doctors

The second research note in the Rural Regions series is posted to note focuses on the distribution of primary care physicians (PCP) Texas counties. Factors associated with fewer PCP per 100,000 people include greater rural land area, lack of broadband, and more workers who commute outside the county. Factors associated with increased PCP per 100,000 people are private insurance and the number of law offices per 100,000 people. Why? Read on. Rural Regions describes the regional nature of some important rural topics, including health care and food access…. Read More →

Rural Regions 1: A Look at Rural Hospital Closures

This month I’m launching a new research note series. Rural Regions describes the regional nature of some important rural topics, including health care and food access. Comments are welcome as these research notes relate to on ongoing research. The series will appear at The purpose is not to advocate for the maintenance or closure of facilities, but to get a picture of factors affecting the presence of services in rural areas. The first note, A Look at Rural Hospital Closures, is available today and provides some context… Read More →

Results of Texas Rural Leaders and Economies Survey Released

The report documenting results of the Texas Rural Leaders and Economies Survey is now posted on the Rural Communities website. A few economic highlights are below. For more information view the complete report online. Future posts will discuss local institutions, keeping young people, and rural leadership. Leaders tended to view overall economic conditions and retail conditions similarly. Most respondents rated their economies and retail sectors as stable. Perceptions of decline across both city and county respondents were more evident in rural counties not adjacent to urban areas.  … Read More →

The Shape of U.S. States According to Commuting Patterns

My colleague John Robinson sent me a link to What if the United States Were Shaped According to Economics? by Ross Pomeroy. It’s always fun to see our usual state borders distorted or color-coated, whether by GDP or status as a tourism destination. Alasdair Rae and Garrett Nelson used American Community Survey commuting flows to identify functional economic regions. Pretty cool. Texas is broken into six states. It is important to think about the fact that this map is based on commuting patterns and not, say, spending patterns…. Read More →

Thinking Beyond the Town Line: Strengthening Rural Development through Cooperation

We talk about regionalism all the time. Collaboration and partnership with surrounding communities is crucial for rural areas. Check out this great webinar recording from the Orton Foundation. Vibrant examples from Michigan, Kentucky, and South Carolina with an intro by of Brett Schwartz of NADO explaining why regionalism is important. Hang in there for the Q&A where the panelists discuss the tension and complementarity of collaboration and competition, among other things. Click the video image below to view the webinar or click here: Some really good thoughts in… Read More →

South Plains SET team meets with USDA RD to discuss progress and SECD opportunities

The South Plains Stronger Economies Together (SET) team met with with USDA-Rural Development Regional Community Economic Development Coordinator, Greg Dale Wednesday, April 20, in Tulia. The team discussed progress in implementing their regional SET plan and learned about opportunities for USDA Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) funding.

SET regional economic development program applications available

Communities across Texas are invited to take advantage of a regional economic development initiative offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the Prairie View Cooperative Extension Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development. The Stronger Economics Together (SET) helps rural communities capitalize on the strengths of the region to create jobs, wealth and economic development. More information is available at

County Migration Flows Mapping Tool

Last week I mentioned a New York Times graphic describing state-level migration flows. The Census Bureau has released the Census Flows Mapper, a county-level mapping tool. This is a useful tool for county leaders and economic developers as they think about who they are attracting, where out-migrants are going, and how they can leverage regional assets to support regional and local development. Statistically, most moves occur relatively near a base county, which alludes to the regional nature of our economies and social capital. 2008-2012 Net Migration in Brazos… Read More →

The Role of Rural: The Energy Economy

I’ve written before about The Role of Rural in addressing the world’s wicked problems—challenges including providing food, water, and energy for 9 billion people by 2050: climate change; health; and poverty. These challenges are serious, but they provide opportunities for rural areas. The Texas energy economy has grown substantially in recent years, and is a major part of the Texas economic narrative. Of course, oil has long been been a part of the Texas story and an important component of the economy. After 30 years of falling production,… Read More →

The Role of Rural: Healthcare

“Those who go to urban hospitals have been described as ‘bypassing’ rural hospitals,” according to a July 2014 report by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The report by M.J. Hall and M.F. Owings, based on findings from the CDC’s National Hospital Discharge Survey, indicates that 40% of rural (non-metro) residents who were hospitalized in 2010 went to urban hospitals while 60% were admitted to rural hospitals. An April 2014 report by the same authors noted that while 17% of the U.S. population lived in nonmetro areas,… Read More →