Two Great Interactive Rural Demographic Resources Available Online

by Joanne Steele on August 23, 2011


Yesterday I was researching information about small towns in the US and happened upon a map I wanted to share will everyone.Atlas of Rural and Small Town America

The new, Atlas of Rural and Small Town America first came online in February 2011 and was updated this summer, so the information is fresh and informative.

Why is a map of Rural And Small Town America useful?

I love maps, and this map allows the user to look at demographics and trends down to the county level for the entire country! When preparing loan and grant applications, having access to this type of information can be useful. And you can reach it easily from your own home computer.

It would be interesting if the USDA guys would overlay rural broadband access maps to give us a better idea of who has the internet access and capability to even LOOK at this thing!

A better map option is available for Canada

As I was nerding around, I also discovered the Community Information Database for Canada. This map is amazing! I hope that the USDA is working to provide the kind of detailed demographic info available on this little gem! Thanks to Jennifer Brooks at the Rurban Fringe for posting about this great Canadian resource.

Share these links with your small town government and chamber of commerce. Why keep something so interesting and valuable a “best kept secret.”

One last thought about internet marketing and rural small town renewal

You’ll notice from the map that most employment in rural US and Canada is service related. This isn’t broken out, so it includes everything from health and legal to fast food service and locally owned rural tourism businesses.

Very few of these service-based businesses are effectively using the internet to market themselves, from the chiropractors to the river guides.

What do you suppose would happen to those income levels if every one of the rural service based small local businesses effectively used the FREE marketing options available online? Just a thought….

Let us know if you’ve found a use for the maps that other small local business owners might appreciate knowing about.

If you are from another country, do you know about a similar map for your corner of the globe?



1 Beauton Scoggins Matthews September 3, 2011 at 2:49 am

Please include me in the monthly newsletter.

2 Sarah Miller August 30, 2011 at 11:50 am

I am excited to have found this resource, the rural tourism marketing blog. I chair our Chamber’s Buy Local committee and I was recently asked to join the board of directors for the Greater Ruby Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture in Southwest Montana. My husband and I own a drive-thru espresso kiosk where we serve breakfast burritos and sandwiches grilled on a panini press. Weather conditions this “summer” kept our fly fishing tourists away for a month and I am so confused that our first year in business was better than our second– because tourists were not on the road! The economy sucks; people are spending money…I want to prepare for next year and I don’t want to be all doom and gloom. We are closing the espresso shop down for the winter but I want to help my community and bone up this fall and winter on ideas and promotions that can help our community and small business. Thanks,

Sarah Miller

3 Joanne Steele September 1, 2011 at 9:48 am

Welcome Sarah! It sounds like your community is very lucky to have you! It has been a confusing year economically. I think the two phrases you posted that are important to remember are, “The economy sucks” and “people are spending money.” The fact is that people will continue to spend money on the things they need and WANT. Our job in rural communities is to make it onto the list of things that they WANT. We can do that on the internet. You are in the right place.

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