John Pender, Bruce Weber, and Wayne Fawbush, Guest Editors
Promoting rural wealth creation is a high priority of USDA and other organizations. We define "wealth" and "wealth creation", explain why wealth creation is important, discuss recent efforts to promote rural wealth creation and past research on this topic, and introduce a conceptual framework and the theme articles.
This article explores how investments in rural wealth, broadly defined, contribute to regional entrepreneurship development and improved livelihoods in rural areas. A synthesis of the literature on drivers of self-employment and establishment births at the county level illustrates regional and urban/rural differences as well as how entrepreneurship is affected by regional wealth.
As the fastest growing U.S. population group, Latino/a newcomers are creating rural wealth. The community context and the interaction of cultural, social, and human capital affect acculturation strategies and wealth and well-being outcomes as they settle in Midwestern rural communities. Policies that support integration would improve Latino/a wealth creation and well-being.
The Northwest Forest Plan, adopted in 1994, sharply reduced timber harvest on Federal forestland in the Pacific Northwest, creating amenities for nearby communities. Rural Oregon communities near protected timberland have experienced faster growth in community wealth than more distant communities, except for logging and mill towns, which suffered initially.
Federal programs that financed emergency and debris removal costs following the 2005 hurricane season helped maintain public sector wealth. Local governments with high storm costs were saved from having debt levels increase up to four times owned assets. Higher financial reserves would increase resiliency to future disasters under reduced federal support.