Health, Wealth, and Prosperity

Don’t worry after reading the title of this post. I definitely don’t subscribe to prosperity theology, but today’s Daily Yonder reports on a fascinating study describing a different kind of prosperity: that found among rural counties across the country. (Full disclosure: I was thrilled earlier today to receive an e-mail telling me that Prairie Roots is now featured in the blog feed on the homepage of Daily Yonder. Check ’em out for reports on all things rural delivered with a dash of edginess. Rural is the new black.)

Turns out population growth and high incomes don’t equal prosperity in rural counties–at least according to University of Illinois economist Andrew Isserman. He identified four factors–“better housing, a more educated population, less poverty and more jobs than the national average”–that better determine level of prosperity. You may or may not be surprised to know that a few South Dakota counties–Custer, Deuel, Grant, Hand, Hyde, Kingsbury, Lake (home of yours truly!), Miner, and Moody–made it onto his list of 289 most prosperous rural counties (out of 1,371).

Read the whole article here.

I’m off to tackle of few of the study’s 42 pages while watching The Office. I’ll post impressions later….of the study, that is.


About EMH

Forty-something. South Dakotan. Mother to 11-year-old K.L. Wife to Cory. Lutheran pastor. Novice organic gardener. Sustainable living aspirer.
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One Response to Health, Wealth, and Prosperity

  1. pastorsteph says:

    Very interesting article, Erin! I also found it absolutely fascinating that the county I grew up in (Pope in MN), the county I just moved from (Lake in SD) and the one I just moved to (Adams in ND) are all on the list of prosperous counties according to those measurements. I’m not sure if the folks out here in this corner of ND would agree with that definition of “prosperous,” but they would declare with pride that it’s a great place to live and raise kids, definitely not because of economics, but because of the people. Rethinking how we define our priorities and values for community is definitely a worthwhile discussion to have. It just can be a tough one for folks to really buy into when the economics are so uncertain. Thanks for something very interesting to ponder!

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