Rural America is More Diverse Than You Think

Update: COVID-19 in Rural America – September 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including Rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of COVID-19 in rural America as of early September 2020.

 

TOTAL REPORTED COVID-19 CASES FEBRUARY 20- SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

The first reported case of COVID-19 outside of metropolitan areas came on February 20, 2020. As of September 10, 2020, there were more than 732,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and over 16,700 associated deaths in communities outside of Metropolitan Areas. All but 14 counties outside of metropolitan areas now have reported COVID-19 cases, and nearly three-quarters of outside metro counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

 

RURAL SHARE OF COVID-19 REPORTED CASES

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban communities and these areas still have the largest share of cases and deaths. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to rise nationally. On August 10, 2020, approximately 12 percent of new COVID-19 cases and 18 percent of deaths were reported in rural communities. On September 10, 2020, 17.9 percent of new cases and 19.7 percent of new deaths were reported outside of metropolitan areas.

REPORTED RURAL COVID-19 RATES PER 100,000

Over 99 percent of counties outside of Metropolitan areas have reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. There are several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities.  From August 10- September 10, the rural case and death rates increased most dramatically in the upper Midwest and in some Appalachian and southern counties.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey.
In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas. 

Rural Unemployment Rate Declines, but 1.8 Million Rural Workers Still Unemployed

 

To access an interactive version of this map visit: https://arcg.is/Ov8bq 

The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that rural labor markets have rebounded somewhat from astronomical unemployment rates earlier this spring. Yet, over 1.8 million rural workers are still unemployed – many as a result of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 health crisis. The June jobs numbers revealed a seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.8 percent for counties outside of metropolitan areas, down from the revised rural unemployment rate for May of 11.3 percent. The number of rural jobless fell from 2.2 million in May to an estimated 1.8 million for the month of June. At its peak in April, the BLS estimated approximately 2.8 million rural jobless with an unemployment rate of 13.6 percent in rural America.

While the rebound in the number of rural workers to just over 19 million is a positive development, there are still substantial concerns in rural labor markets as the nation still grapples with the COVID 19 health crisis. The rural unemployment rate is still nearly double the rate for February 2020 prior to the COVID crisis. Furthermore, the June job numbers do not reflect potential economic backsliding from the dramatic rise in COVID 19 cases over the summer. In the month of July there were almost as many new reported rural cases of COVID-19 than had been reported for the prior 5 months in total.

POTENTIAL UNEMPLOYMENT RAMIFICATIONS FOR RURAL HOUSING

Jobs and employment conditions have traditionally been a bellwether and leading indicator for housing trends. While the unemployment caused by COVID-19 is unprecedented and unpredictable, the continued high jobless rates signal the potential for serious concerns across the housing spectrum. Many Americans have been buoyed by large scale federal unemployment benefits and economic stimulus which largely came to an abrupt end in August and has yet to be clearly reestablished. If rural unemployment rates continue at these elevated levels, the collateral impacts to almost all sectors of the housing market could be substantial – notably the ability of unemployed households to make rent and mortgage payments.

About the Data: Information for this Brief derives from HAC tabulations of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) reporting. https://www.bls.gov/lau/  In this Brief the terms “Outside Metropolitan Area” and “Rural” are used synonymously and refer to counties and population outside of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designated Metropolitan Areas. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Bulletin-18-04.pdf

Covid-19 Reported Cases per 100,000 population - August 2, 2020

Update: COVID-19 in Rural America – August 2, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting nearly every community – including Rural America. While there are still many uncertainties, the health crisis changes daily and the pandemic’s impact on rural communities continues to grow and evolve. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents summary findings of what we know about COVID-19 in rural America as of early August 2020.

 

Covid-19 Reported Cases in Rural America - August 2, 2020

TOTAL REPORTED COVID-19 CASES FEBRUARY 20- AUGUST 2, 2020

On March 16, 2020, the CDC issued guidelines for Social Distancing. As of August 2, 2020, there were more than 460,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and deaths from the virus have now surpassed 10,000 in communities outside of Metropolitan Areas. All but 32 counties outside of metropolitan areas have reported COVID-19 cases, and now over 60 percent of these counties have also reported associated deaths related to the virus.

Outside Metropolitan Cumulative Covid-19 Cases - August 2, 2020

 

NEWLY REPORTED COVID-19 CASES FEBRUARY 20 – AUGUST 2, 2020

The level of new COVID-19 reported cases grew dramatically in July and the number of reported cases outside of metropolitan areas continued to skyrocket as well. From July 2 to August 2 there were almost as many new reported rural cases (225,553) than had been reported for the prior 5 months in total (235,201). There were a reported 3,381 rural deaths related to COVID-19 in the past month as well.

Covid-10 New Reported Cases - August 2, 2020

RURAL SHARE OF COVID-19 REPORTED CASES

Initial impacts of COVID-19 were greatest in urban communities and particularly devastating to some metropolitan areas. As of August 2, 2020, approximately 10 percent of COVID-19 cases and 7 percent of associated deaths have been reported in rural communities. But the rural share of COVID-19 cases continues to rise nationally.

Covid-19 New Reported Cases - August 2, 2020

Reported Rural COVID-19 Rates per 100,000
Over 98 percent of rural communities have reported COVID-19 cases, but the virus’ impacts vary widely across the nation’s rural geography. There are several instances of extremely high per-capita infection rates in rural areas – notably on some Native American lands and communities with meat packing and correctional facilities.  From July 2- August 2, the case and death rates increased most dramatically in the rural Southeast.

Covid-19 Reported Cases per 100,000 population - August 2, 2020

 

To access all graphics and interactive maps visit: https://arcg.is/1HH0H4.

ABOUT THE DATA

The information in this brief derives from Housing Assistance Council tabulations of data from The New York Times, based on reports from state and local health agencies, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey.
In these analyses, the terms “rural” and Outside Metropolitan Areas are synonymous and refer to counties and counts outside of OMB designated Metropolitan Areas. 

Snapshots of Rural Data

Rural America is a vast and diverse place, with a character all its own. This page includes infographics from Rural Voices Magazine and HAC’s publications which tell a small story in data about a particular slice of rural America.

Duty to Serve Infographic

Duty to Serve in Rural America

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The Duty to Serve program requires the GSEs to help direct investment toward vulnerable people and places. How does that impact rural areas?

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The Demographics of Rural America

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Learn a little bit more about the people of rural America who make up roughly one fifth of the US population.

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The Community Reinvestment Act in Rural America

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The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), adopted in 1977, has been a boon to urban community development. How does it work in rural areas?

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Homeownership in Rural America

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Rates of homeownership in rural areas are generally higher than in urban areas, but many still face challenges.

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The Digital Divide in Rural America

Broadband internet access and adoption in rural areas lags behind that of metropolitan areas.

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Fair Housing in Rural America – By the Numbers

This infographic reveals trends in rural fair housing complaints as reported from HUD’s FHEO filed cases data, including a look at the number of complaints per year, geography, and the most prevalent complaints by county.

American and Alaska Native (AIAN) Communities at a Glance Infographic

American and Alaska Native (AIAN) Communities at a Glance

A look at the geographic distribution and unique mortgage lending experiences of American and Alaska Native Communities.

Ruralities: The Changing Face of Rural America

Ruralities: The Changing Face of Rural America

A set of maps demonstrate the ways rural America’s demographics and housing are changing.

The Complicated Picture of Rural Homelessness

The Complicated (& largely unknown) Picture of Rural Homelessness (Infographic)

It is often difficult to quantify the number of homeless people who live in rural areas. Here is a look at some of the information we know about this vulnerable population.

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Celebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselves.(8.5″ X 11″ printable pdf)

Celebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselves.(25.5″ X 11″ original document)

Celebrate the accomplishments of USDA’s Self-Help housing program during the 50 years since its founding.

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Mortgage Lending and Access in Rural America

Rural communities have different experiences when it comes to accessing and using mortgage markets. This infographic provides a window into some of those experiences.

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Poverty in Rural America

Approximately 45 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population, had incomes below the official poverty rate in 2012. In rural America, the poverty rate is above 17 percent with more than 10 million people living in poverty.

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The housing crisis and its wake in rural America– (Interactive Prezi)

What was the impact of the housing crisis in rural America?

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Children & Youth in Rural America – (Interactive Prezi)

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MAP – A Demographic Portrait of Seniors in Rural America

State and County Data Snapshots

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This interactive map is hosted on HAC’s Rural Data Portal. It includes stat and county level snapshots of data on population, poverty, and housing occupancy as well as links to more detailed information.

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Poverty in the United States – 2012 Map

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Poverty in the United States Map

Download a PDF of the “Poverty in the United States” map (HAC recommends using Adobe Reader X or higher for optimal printing)

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Taking Stock: Rural People, Poverty and Housing in the 21st Century

The increasing prevalence of poverty in the United States is an inexcusable shame on this great nation. More Americans are living in poverty today than at any other time since the Census Bureau began measuring its occurrence. The issue of poverty has many complexities, but it is much more than an abstract condition for the over 40 million Americans who face daily struggles with food security, access to health care, and lack of basic shelter.

Forty years ago the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) was created to address poverty and housing inadequacies in rural America. In 1984, HAC published Taking Stock, one of the first comprehensive assessments of rural poverty and housing conditions in the United States. A key component of that seminal report was HAC’s national poverty map detailing poverty rates for every U.S. county in 1980. As a companion to 2012 edition of Taking Stock: Rual People, Poverty, and Housing in the 21st Century, HAC presents our newly updated poverty map, entitled “Poverty in the United States.” The map shows county-level poverty data from 2010 Census counts.

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Download HAC’s Rural
Research Note: Poverty
in Rural America.

While some gains have been made in reducing poverty over the past several decades, poverty rates are still shockingly high for certain populations in rural America, namely minorities and children. HAC’s research also illustrates the continued persistence of high poverty within several predominantly rural regions and populations such as Central Appalachia, the Lower Mississippi Delta, the southern Black Belt, the Colonias region along the U.S.-Mexico border, Native American lands, and migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Often forgotten or hidden from mainstream America, these areas and
populations had poverty rates of 20 percent or higher in 1990, 2000, and 2010.

HAC’s poverty map presents the stark reality that too many Americans have been left behind or shut out of our nation’s economic promise and prosperity.

In the coming months, HAC will present additional research products highlighting social, economic, and housing characteristics of rural Americans.

Mapping Poverty in
Rural America Webinar

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Download Powerpoint |

Download a PDF of the “Poverty in the United States” map