Defining the Rural West

Defining the Rural West

Presented to the Rural Sociological Society at its annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.


Geoff McGhee

July 27, 2018


  1. Defining the Rural West Geoff McGhee Bill Lane Center for

    the American West, Stanford University Rural Sociology Society Annual Meeting Portland, July 27, 2018
  2. Defining “Rural”

  3. DEFINING RURAL U.S. Census Bureau • The “official” or “default”

    definition • Based on land use patterns: “the picture you would get of a settlement from an airplane” – USDA • “Not urban:” population outside: • “urbanized areas” > 50,000 pop. • “urban clusters” 2,500 - 50k • 19.3% of U.S. population “rural” in 2010
 - 59.4 million people! Census Bureau
  4. Census Bureau U.S. Census Bureau DEFINING RURAL

  5. DEFINING RURAL Office of Management & Budget • “Core-based statistical

    areas” • Views cities as economic entities; rurality as what lies outside of their influence – as defined through regular commuting patterns • "Metropolitan," "Micropolitan" and a third unnamed categorization commonly called "non-core" or "non-metro"
  6. DEFINING RURAL Office of Management & Budget

  7. DEFINING RURAL U.S. Department of Agriculture • “Rural-Urban Commuting Area

    Codes” • Beyond urban/non-urban binary • Scale of rurality combining Census data with fine-grained analysis of daily commuting patterns • 10 codes: • 1 - 3: urban • 4 -10: somewhat to remotely rural
  8. DEFINING RURAL U.S. Department of Agriculture

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  13. Am I Rural?

  14. Screen shot of AM I RURAL?

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  17. Defining the Rural West

  18. “The rural west is defined by... sparse population”

  19. DEFINING THE RURAL WEST Frontier Counties < 7 people per

    sq. mi. Census Bureau, RAC
  20. Lights from Space DEFINING THE RURAL WEST NASA

  21. “Where The 0.05% Live” DEFINING THE RURAL WEST Stephen Von

  22. “The rural west is defined by... distance”

  23. DEFINING THE RURAL WEST Distribution of Public Libraries

  24. DEFINING THE RURAL WEST Distribution of Zip Codes

  25. DEFINING THE RURAL WEST Libraries and Zip Codes

  26. Distance Between Public Libraries DEFINING THE RURAL WEST

  27. Distance Between Zip Code Centers DEFINING THE RURAL WEST

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  29. “The rural west is defined by... large amounts of public

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  31. “The rural west is defined by... large amounts of public

  32. “The rural west is defined by... tribal lands and reservations.

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  34. “The rural west is defined by... disconnectedness”

  35. DEFINING THE RURAL WEST The “Three Wests” Headwaters Economics

  36. DEFINING THE RURAL WEST The “Three Wests” Headwaters Economics

  37. Broadband Internet Availability DEFINING THE RURAL WEST National Broadband Map

  38. By Vlad Savov posted Feb 18th 2011 8:44AM Internet, Alt

    United States gets a National Broadband Map, finds much of its nation doesn't have broadband The FCC of the Obama administration has been very keen to highlight the fact that many Americans today still aren't riding the information superhighway, a mission of awareness-spreading that was advanced a little more yesterday with the introduction of the National Broadband Map. Mostly the work of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, this $200 million project provides broadband data for thousands of providers with over 25 million searchable records -- all of which can be visualized in map form, categorized by connectivity type, or downloaded in full to your computer. APIs have been made available for anyone interested in remixing / using the NBM elsewhere, while information updates are promised every six months. In terms of the maps' content, we're still seeing unsatisfactorily wide swathes of broadband-free countryside, but we suppose the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. National Broadband Map introduction New York Times, Switched National Broadband Map 188 - - - - PlayStation 3 Slim review (late 2012): is the third time a charm? (X) ago Just Mobile talks about working with Apple and why it manufactures in Taiwan exclusively 4 hours ago Samsung Galaxy Note II review 5 hours ago Engadget UK Giveaway: win a Samsung Galaxy Note II courtesy of MobiCity 9 hours ago How would you change HTC's Titan II? 16 hours ago
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  40. According to the FCC: The Meaning of Broadband Internet Access

    – Michael J. Copps, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission “Bringing Broadband to Rural America,” 2008 • Study: communities with access to mass-market broadband grew disproportionally • Improve quality of education, health care and public safety • Farm productivity: weather and crop reports, livestock disease, time sales of products • Opens wider markets for small business, craftspeople • Enables telecommuting, telework • Assistance for disabled • Broadband is the “national highway system of the 21st century”
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  42. Questions? @mcgeoff 

  43. Thank you! @mcgeoff