Survey Snapshots

Explore Key Regional and National Findings From a National Survey Administered in Fall of 2021

Respondents participating in the national survey were presented with the eight topic areas shown below and were asked to rank the topics in terms of priority, their organizational capacity for carrying out work in topic areas, and their organization's interest in expanding work in each topic area beyond its current activities. Scroll down for infographics showing key findings. Learn more about the survey by downloading the complete survey report (PDF).

Topic areas


Physical Infrastructure and Public Services


Economic Development


Workforce Development, Training and Education




Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Community Vibrancy


Agriculture and Food Systems


Climate Change, Climate Variability, and Extreme Weather


Priority ranks: The primary goal of the survey was to identify the topics and issues where investments are most needed within the next five years to support the development of rural communities in the United States. To this end, respondents were asked to provide a ranking of pre-identified topics related to rural community development and policy. View the priority rank infographic.


Capacity ranks: Ratings of current capacity were given using a scale from 1 (no capacity) to 4 (high capacity). The ratings for all valid responses within an issue are averaged to determine that issue’s current capacity score. Averages are calculated for the entire sample and for each regional partition of the observations. View the capacity ranking infographic.


Expansion rankings: For each issue, respondents were asked to indicate whether their organization likely has an interest in expanding beyond its current activities. This was presented in the form of a simple check box. Thus, expansion potential is measured as a percentage of valid respondents who indicated their organization likely had an interest. View the expansion ranking infographic.

Valued Programming

Valued Programming rankings: Survey participants were also asked to rate the value they perceive for ten different types of programming activities that support the capacity of community and economic development organizations. For each, they indicated this value on a four-point scale, from no value to high value. The number of responses per item ranged from 456 to 459. Average scores were calculated across the entire sample and within regional groupings of responses for each item. View the valued programming infographic.

These graphics were developed by the Extension Foundation through New Technologies for Ag Extension from USDA-NIFA, grant no. 2020-41595-30123.