In Search of "Good" Rural Data

Research Report

In Search of "Good" Rural Data

Abstract

Economic and demographic data drive research, policy development, distribution of government resources, and private investment. But many of the datasets that policymakers, practitioners, and researchers rely on to understand and guide resources to rural communities fall short in representing rural realities. Informed by a review of 22 datasets and discussions with top rural-focused researchers, economic development practitioners, and subject-area experts, this report explores the systemic and logistical challenges to improving data accuracy for rural communities, discusses the relative strengths and weaknesses of key datasets, and provides recommendations for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to improve data quality for rural communities.

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