If you were looking for a rural community where people worked, graduated from school, lived in good homes and stayed out of poverty, this list is where you'd want to start.

"> Rural America's Most Prosperous Counties - Daily Yonder

Rural America’s Most Prosperous Counties

fanninIf you were looking for a rural community where people worked, graduated from school, lived in good homes and stayed out of poverty, this list is where you'd want to start.

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Fannin County, Georgia is one of the 289 "prosperous" counties, as defined by University of Illinois economist Andrew Isserman. This photo was taken in the town of Blue Ridge.
Photo: terrapin dawg

There are 289 rural counties that have better housing, a more educated population, less poverty and more jobs than the national average. Those counties are listed below.

They can be found in Georgia and Wisconsin, Kentucky and North Dakota. These prosperous places aren�t vacation havens or golf course retirement compounds. They are everyday places, most of them, where people live, work and learn. They are examples of the kind of communities every rural county can become.

The list comes from Andrew Isserman, an economist at the University of Illinois. Isserman recently proposed that instead of looking for success in growing populations and higher incomes, rural communities should seek to become prosperous. They should be places with affordable and well-maintained housing; a well-educated population; plenty of work; and few poor families. (See the Yonder for a full report on Isserman�s study .)

Isserman applied his test to every county in the United States. Today, we look at the most rural of Isserman�s prosperous counties.

These are counties that have either 90 percent of their populations living in rural areas or have no town with a population of more than 10,000 people. These counties aren�t close to urban areas and they have a low population density. There are 1,371 strictly rural counties in these terms and 289 are prosperous, according to Isserman.

The Illinois economist finds a number of traits common to these counties. They aren�t on four-lane highways, particularly. They do have more family farms. Check out the Yonder story for more or go straight to Isserman�s paper .

Here are the counties. They are listed by state in alphabetical order and the list includes their 2000 population.

Prosperous Counties Population 2000
Chaffee County, Colorado 16,242
Cheyenne County, Colorado 2,231
Delta County, Colorado 27,834
Grand County, Colorado 12,442
Kiowa County, Colorado 1,622
Kit Carson County, Colorado 8,011
Mineral County, Colorado 831
Phillips County, Colorado 4,480
Routt County, Colorado 19,690
Sedgwick County, Colorado 2,747
Washington County, Colorado 4,926
Fannin County, Georgia 19,798
Towns County, Georgia 9,319
Camas County, Idaho 991
Caribou County, Idaho 7,304
Oneida County, Idaho 4,125
Clark County, Illinois 17,008
Clay County, Illinois 14,560
Crawford County, Illinois 20,452
De Witt County, Illinois 16,798
Edwards County, Illinois 6,971
Hancock County, Illinois 20,121
Jasper County, Illinois 10,117
Jo Daviess County, Illinois 22,289
Schuyler County, Illinois 7,189
Shelby County, Illinois 22,893
Washington County, Illinois 15,148
Fountain County, Indiana 17,954
Fulton County, Indiana 20,511
Jay County, Indiana 21,806
Orange County, Indiana 19,306
Parke County, Indiana 17,241
Pulaski County, Indiana 13,755
Randolph County, Indiana 27,401
Ripley County, Indiana 26,523
Spencer County, Indiana 20,391
Warren County, Indiana 8,419
White County, Indiana 25,267
Adair County, Iowa 8,243
Adams County, Iowa 4,482
Allamakee County, Iowa 14,675
Audubon County, Iowa 6,830
Butler County, Iowa 15,305
Calhoun County, Iowa 11,115
Carroll County, Iowa 21,421
Cass County, Iowa 14,684
Cedar County, Iowa 18,187
Cherokee County, Iowa 13,035
Clayton County, Iowa 18,678
Delaware County, Iowa 18,404
Emmet County, Iowa 11,027
Fayette County, Iowa 22,008
Floyd County, Iowa 16,900
Franklin County, Iowa 10,704
Fremont County, Iowa 8,010
Greene County, Iowa 10,366
Hamilton County, Iowa 16,438
Hancock County, Iowa 12,100
Hardin County, Iowa 18,812
Henry County, Iowa 20,336
Humboldt County, Iowa 10,381
Ida County, Iowa 7,837
Iowa County, Iowa 15,671
Jackson County, Iowa 20,296
Jefferson County, Iowa 16,181
Keokuk County, Iowa 11,400
Kossuth County, Iowa 17,163
Lyon County, Iowa 11,763
Mitchell County, Iowa 10,874
Monona County, Iowa 10,020
Monroe County, Iowa 8,016
O'Brien County, Iowa 15,102
Osceola County, Iowa 7,003
Palo Alto County, Iowa 10,147
Plymouth County, Iowa 24,849
Pocahontas County, Iowa 8,662
Poweshiek County, Iowa 18,815
Sac County, Iowa 11,529
Shelby County, Iowa 13,173
Sioux County, Iowa 31,589
Tama County, Iowa 18,103
Taylor County, Iowa 6,958
Union County, Iowa 12,309
Winnebago County, Iowa 11,723
Winneshiek County, Iowa 21,310
Wright County, Iowa 14,334
Barber County, Kansas 5,307
Chautauqua County, Kansas 4,359
Cheyenne County, Kansas 3,165
Clay County, Kansas 8,822
Cloud County, Kansas 10,268
Coffey County, Kansas 8,865
Comanche County, Kansas 1,967
Decatur County, Kansas 3,472
Dickinson County, Kansas 19,344
Edwards County, Kansas 3,449
Ellsworth County, Kansas 6,525
Gove County, Kansas 3,068
Graham County, Kansas 2,946
Harper County, Kansas 6,536
Haskell County, Kansas 4,307
Hodgeman County, Kansas 2,085
Jewell County, Kansas 3,791
Kingman County, Kansas 8,673
Kiowa County, Kansas 3,278
Lane County, Kansas 2,155
Lincoln County, Kansas 3,578
Logan County, Kansas 3,046
Marion County, Kansas 13,361
Marshall County, Kansas 10,965
Meade County, Kansas 4,631
Mitchell County, Kansas 6,932
Morris County, Kansas 6,104
Morton County, Kansas 3,496
Nemaha County, Kansas 10,717
Ness County, Kansas 3,454
Norton County, Kansas 5,953
Osborne County, Kansas 4,452
Phillips County, Kansas 6,001
Pratt County, Kansas 9,647
Republic County, Kansas 5,835
Rooks County, Kansas 5,685
Rush County, Kansas 3,551
Russell County, Kansas 7,370
Smith County, Kansas 4,536
Stafford County, Kansas 4,789
Stevens County, Kansas 5,463
Trego County, Kansas 3,319
Washington County, Kansas 6,483
Harrison County, Kentucky 17,983
Marshall County, Kentucky 30,125
Simpson County, Kentucky 16,405
Hancock County, Maine 51,791
Lincoln County, Maine 33,616
Oxford County, Maine 54,755
Otsego County, Michigan 23,301
Big Stone County, Minnesota 5,820
Chippewa County, Minnesota 13,088
Cottonwood County, Minnesota 12,167
Faribault County, Minnesota 16,181
Grant County, Minnesota 6,289
Jackson County, Minnesota 11,268
Kittson County, Minnesota 5,285
Koochiching County, Minnesota 14,355
Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota 8,067
Lake County, Minnesota 11,058
Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota 4,522
Le Sueur County, Minnesota 25,426
Lincoln County, Minnesota 6,429
Meeker County, Minnesota 22,644
Mille Lacs County, Minnesota 22,330
Morrison County, Minnesota 31,712
Murray County, Minnesota 9,165
Pipestone County, Minnesota 9,895
Pope County, Minnesota 11,236
Redwood County, Minnesota 16,815
Renville County, Minnesota 17,154
Rock County, Minnesota 9,721
Roseau County, Minnesota 16,338
Sibley County, Minnesota 15,356
Swift County, Minnesota 11,956
Traverse County, Minnesota 4,134
Waseca County, Minnesota 19,526
Watonwan County, Minnesota 11,876
Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota 11,080
Chariton County, Missouri 8,438
Gasconade County, Missouri 15,342
Gentry County, Missouri 6,861
Monroe County, Missouri 9,311
Perry County, Missouri 18,132
Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri 17,842
Sweet Grass County, Montana 3,609
Boone County, Nebraska 6,259
Box Butte County, Nebraska 12,158
Brown County, Nebraska 3,525
Burt County, Nebraska 7,791
Butler County, Nebraska 8,767
Cedar County, Nebraska 9,615
Cherry County, Nebraska 6,148
Cheyenne County, Nebraska 9,830
Cuming County, Nebraska 10,203
Deuel County, Nebraska 2,098
Fillmore County, Nebraska 6,634
Frontier County, Nebraska 3,099
Furnas County, Nebraska 5,324
Grant County, Nebraska 747
Hamilton County, Nebraska 9,403
Harlan County, Nebraska 3,786
Hooker County, Nebraska 783
Jefferson County, Nebraska 8,333
Johnson County, Nebraska 4,488
Keith County, Nebraska 8,875
Nuckolls County, Nebraska 5,057
Otoe County, Nebraska 15,396
Pawnee County, Nebraska 3,087
Phelps County, Nebraska 9,747
Polk County, Nebraska 5,639
Red Willow County, Nebraska 11,448
Richardson County, Nebraska 9,531
Saline County, Nebraska 13,843
Thayer County, Nebraska 6,055
York County, Nebraska 14,598
Carroll County, New Hampshire 43,666
Adams County, North Dakota 2,593
Barnes County, North Dakota 11,775
Bottineau County, North Dakota 7,149
Bowman County, North Dakota 3,242
Cavalier County, North Dakota 4,831
Eddy County, North Dakota 2,757
Foster County, North Dakota 3,759
Griggs County, North Dakota 2,754
Mercer County, North Dakota 8,644
Nelson County, North Dakota 3,715
Pembina County, North Dakota 8,585
Ransom County, North Dakota 5,890
Sargent County, North Dakota 4,366
Steele County, North Dakota 2,258
Towner County, North Dakota 2,876
Traill County, North Dakota 8,477
Paulding County, Ohio 20,293
Putnam County, Ohio 34,726
Wyandot County, Ohio 22,908
Beaver County, Oklahoma 5,857
Harper County, Oklahoma 3,562
Kingfisher County, Oklahoma 13,926
Major County, Oklahoma 7,545
Tillamook County, Oregon 24,262
Bedford County, Pennsylvania 49,984
Fulton County, Pennsylvania 14,261
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania 42,238
Wayne County, Pennsylvania 47,722
Custer County, South Dakota 7,275
Deuel County, South Dakota 4,498
Grant County, South Dakota 7,847
Hand County, South Dakota 3,741
Hyde County, South Dakota 1,671
Kingsbury County, South Dakota 5,815
Lake County, South Dakota 11,276
Miner County, South Dakota 2,884
Moody County, South Dakota 6,595
Sully County, South Dakota 1,556
Giles County, Tennessee 29,447
Humphreys County, Tennessee 17,929
Fayette County, Texas 21,804
Gillespie County, Texas 20,814
Hartley County, Texas 5,537
Kent County, Texas 859
Loving County, Texas 67
Reagan County, Texas 3,326
Beaver County, Utah 6,005
Kane County, Utah 6,046
Rich County, Utah 1,961
Addison County, Vermont 35,974
Windham County, Vermont 44,216
Alleghany County, Virginia 12,926
Bath County, Virginia 5,048
Bland County, Virginia 6,871
Essex County, Virginia 9,989
King George County, Virginia 16,803
Madison County, Virginia 12,520
Northumberland County, Virginia 12,259
Rappahannock County, Virginia 6,983
Rockbridge County, Virginia 20,808
Shenandoah County, Virginia 35,075
Wythe County, Virginia 27,599
Barron County, Wisconsin 44,963
Buffalo County, Wisconsin 13,804
Crawford County, Wisconsin 17,243
Door County, Wisconsin 27,961
Green Lake County, Wisconsin 19,105
Lafayette County, Wisconsin 16,137
Marquette County, Wisconsin 15,832
Monroe County, Wisconsin 40,899
Pepin County, Wisconsin 7,213
Polk County, Wisconsin 41,319
Price County, Wisconsin 15,822
Richland County, Wisconsin 17,924
Shawano County, Wisconsin 40,664
Taylor County, Wisconsin 19,680
Trempealeau County, Wisconsin 27,010
Waupaca County, Wisconsin 51,731
Converse County, Wyoming 12,052
Crook County, Wyoming 5,887
Hot Springs County, Wyoming 4,882
Lincoln County, Wyoming 14,573
Sublette County, Wyoming 5,920
Weston County, Wyoming 6,644




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