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 Rurality Resources

 A Continuous Multi-dimensional Measure of Rurality: Moving Beyond Threshold Measures
This paper introduces the Index of Relative Rurality, a continuous measure of rurality. The index is based on four dimensions: population size, density, percentage of urban residents, and distance to the closest metropolitan area. The index varies from 0 (most urban) to 1 (most rural). Compared to existing means of measuring rurality, the index is continuous and thus does not suffer from problems that arise when using arbitrary thresholds to separate discrete categories. This shift away from often ill-defined categories of rural and urban, to measuring the degree of rurality will shed new light on a wide array of rural issues ranging from rural poverty to economic growth.

This paper shows that the Index of Relative Rurality makes an invaluable contribution to the debate on what is rural and what is urban. Three properties of the index are particularly beneficial for both research and policy: rurality is treated as a relative attribute, making it possible to investigate trajectories of rurality over time; sensitivity to small changes in one of the defining dimensions; applicability to different spatial scales.

 The Effects Of Rurality And Industrial Specialization On Income Growth: U.S. Counties 2000 To 2003
This paper— part of a comprehensive project on industry clusters and rural competitiveness— explores the role of industrial specialization and rurality on economic performance for counties in the continental United States. Regression models are estimated that evaluate the impact of industry cluster-specific employment shares on per capita income growth overall, as well as in a sequence of different contextual settings. Overall, the results suggest that economic disparities across U.S. counties will diminish.

The results also suggest that economic specialization “per se” is not a guarantee for economic growth. Instead, economic growth very much depends on the type of specialization and the contextual setting, with distinct differences between, for example, the metropolitan sphere, the rural sphere, and the rural-metro interface.

 What Is Rural and What is Urban in Indiana?
What is urban and what is rural is a topic of continuing debate. This publication explains the commonly used rural/urban classifications and what they mean for Indiana. It argues that these classifications suffer from serious shortcomings, most notably the “threshold trap,” which in the extreme is an “all or nothing” grouping. As an alternative, this report introduces the Index of Relative Rurality.

The index shifts emphasis away from often ill-defined categories of rural and urban. Instead of answering the question “Is it rural, or not?” it answers the question “How rural is it?” As such, the Index of Relative Rurality promises to shed new light on issues ranging from rural poverty to economic growth in urban and rural areas.

 Measuring Rurality
Rurality is a vague concept. Being rural as opposed to urban is an attribute that people easily attach to a place based on their own perceptions, which may include low population density, abundance of farmland or remoteness from urban areas.