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e=”text align: center”>fanin county

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.

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A message from the Rural Assembly

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Prosperous CountiesPopulation 2000
Chaffee County, Colorado16,242
Cheyenne County, Colorado2,231
Delta County, Colorado27,834
Grand County, Colorado12,442
Kiowa County, Colorado1,622
Kit Carson County, Colorado8,011
Mineral County, Colorado831
Phillips County, Colorado4,480
Routt County, Colorado19,690
Sedgwick County, Colorado2,747
Washington County, Colorado4,926
Fannin County, Georgia19,798
Towns County, Georgia9,319
Camas County, Idaho991
Caribou County, Idaho7,304
Oneida County, Idaho4,125
Clark County, Illinois17,008
Clay County, Illinois14,560
Crawford County, Illinois20,452
De Witt County, Illinois16,798
Edwards County, Illinois6,971
Hancock County, Illinois20,121
Jasper County, Illinois10,117
Jo Daviess County, Illinois22,289
Schuyler County, Illinois7,189
Shelby County, Illinois22,893
Washington County, Illinois15,148
Fountain County, Indiana17,954
Fulton County, Indiana20,511
Jay County, Indiana21,806
Orange County, Indiana19,306
Parke County, Indiana17,241
Pulaski County, Indiana13,755
Randolph County, Indiana27,401
Ripley County, Indiana26,523
Spencer County, Indiana20,391
Warren County, Indiana8,419
White County, Indiana25,267
Adair County, Iowa8,243
Adams County, Iowa4,482
Allamakee County, Iowa14,675
Audubon County, Iowa6,830
Butler County, Iowa15,305
Calhoun County, Iowa11,115
Carroll County, Iowa21,421
Cass County, Iowa14,684
Cedar County, Iowa18,187
Cherokee County, Iowa13,035
Clayton County, Iowa18,678
Delaware County, Iowa18,404
Emmet County, Iowa11,027
Fayette County, Iowa22,008
Floyd County, Iowa16,900
Franklin County, Iowa10,704
Fremont County, Iowa8,010
Greene County, Iowa10,366
Hamilton County, Iowa16,438
Hancock County, Iowa12,100
Hardin County, Iowa18,812
Henry County, Iowa20,336
Humboldt County, Iowa10,381
Ida County, Iowa7,837
Iowa County, Iowa15,671
Jackson County, Iowa20,296
Jefferson County, Iowa16,181
Keokuk County, Iowa11,400
Kossuth County, Iowa17,163
Lyon County, Iowa11,763
Mitchell County, Iowa10,874
Monona County, Iowa10,020
Monroe County, Iowa8,016
O'Brien County, Iowa15,102
Osceola County, Iowa7,003
Palo Alto County, Iowa10,147
Plymouth County, Iowa24,849
Pocahontas County, Iowa8,662
Poweshiek County, Iowa18,815
Sac County, Iowa11,529
Shelby County, Iowa13,173
Sioux County, Iowa31,589
Tama County, Iowa18,103
Taylor County, Iowa6,958
Union County, Iowa12,309
Winnebago County, Iowa11,723
Winneshiek County, Iowa21,310
Wright County, Iowa14,334
Barber County, Kansas5,307
Chautauqua County, Kansas4,359
Cheyenne County, Kansas3,165
Clay County, Kansas8,822
Cloud County, Kansas10,268
Coffey County, Kansas8,865
Comanche County, Kansas1,967
Decatur County, Kansas3,472
Dickinson County, Kansas19,344
Edwards County, Kansas3,449
Ellsworth County, Kansas6,525
Gove County, Kansas3,068
Graham County, Kansas2,946
Harper County, Kansas6,536
Haskell County, Kansas4,307
Hodgeman County, Kansas2,085
Jewell County, Kansas3,791
Kingman County, Kansas8,673
Kiowa County, Kansas3,278
Lane County, Kansas2,155
Lincoln County, Kansas3,578
Logan County, Kansas3,046
Marion County, Kansas13,361
Marshall County, Kansas10,965
Meade County, Kansas4,631
Mitchell County, Kansas6,932
Morris County, Kansas6,104
Morton County, Kansas3,496
Nemaha County, Kansas10,717
Ness County, Kansas3,454
Norton County, Kansas5,953
Osborne County, Kansas4,452
Phillips County, Kansas6,001
Pratt County, Kansas9,647
Republic County, Kansas5,835
Rooks County, Kansas5,685
Rush County, Kansas3,551
Russell County, Kansas7,370
Smith County, Kansas4,536
Stafford County, Kansas4,789
Stevens County, Kansas5,463
Trego County, Kansas3,319
Washington County, Kansas6,483
Harrison County, Kentucky17,983
Marshall County, Kentucky30,125
Simpson County, Kentucky16,405
Hancock County, Maine51,791
Lincoln County, Maine33,616
Oxford County, Maine54,755
Otsego County, Michigan23,301
Big Stone County, Minnesota5,820
Chippewa County, Minnesota13,088
Cottonwood County, Minnesota12,167
Faribault County, Minnesota16,181
Grant County, Minnesota6,289
Jackson County, Minnesota11,268
Kittson County, Minnesota5,285
Koochiching County, Minnesota14,355
Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota8,067
Lake County, Minnesota11,058
Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota4,522
Le Sueur County, Minnesota25,426
Lincoln County, Minnesota6,429
Meeker County, Minnesota22,644
Mille Lacs County, Minnesota22,330
Morrison County, Minnesota31,712
Murray County, Minnesota9,165
Pipestone County, Minnesota9,895
Pope County, Minnesota11,236
Redwood County, Minnesota16,815
Renville County, Minnesota17,154
Rock County, Minnesota9,721
Roseau County, Minnesota16,338
Sibley County, Minnesota15,356
Swift County, Minnesota11,956
Traverse County, Minnesota4,134
Waseca County, Minnesota19,526
Watonwan County, Minnesota11,876
Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota11,080
Chariton County, Missouri8,438
Gasconade County, Missouri15,342
Gentry County, Missouri6,861
Monroe County, Missouri9,311
Perry County, Missouri18,132
Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri17,842
Sweet Grass County, Montana3,609
Boone County, Nebraska6,259
Box Butte County, Nebraska12,158
Brown County, Nebraska3,525
Burt County, Nebraska7,791
Butler County, Nebraska8,767
Cedar County, Nebraska9,615
Cherry County, Nebraska6,148
Cheyenne County, Nebraska9,830
Cuming County, Nebraska10,203
Deuel County, Nebraska2,098
Fillmore County, Nebraska6,634
Frontier County, Nebraska3,099
Furnas County, Nebraska5,324
Grant County, Nebraska747
Hamilton County, Nebraska9,403
Harlan County, Nebraska3,786
Hooker County, Nebraska783
Jefferson County, Nebraska8,333
Johnson County, Nebraska4,488
Keith County, Nebraska8,875
Nuckolls County, Nebraska5,057
Otoe County, Nebraska15,396
Pawnee County, Nebraska3,087
Phelps County, Nebraska9,747
Polk County, Nebraska5,639
Red Willow County, Nebraska11,448
Richardson County, Nebraska9,531
Saline County, Nebraska13,843
Thayer County, Nebraska6,055
York County, Nebraska14,598
Carroll County, New Hampshire43,666
Adams County, North Dakota2,593
Barnes County, North Dakota11,775
Bottineau County, North Dakota7,149
Bowman County, North Dakota3,242
Cavalier County, North Dakota4,831
Eddy County, North Dakota2,757
Foster County, North Dakota3,759
Griggs County, North Dakota2,754
Mercer County, North Dakota8,644
Nelson County, North Dakota3,715
Pembina County, North Dakota8,585
Ransom County, North Dakota5,890
Sargent County, North Dakota4,366
Steele County, North Dakota2,258
Towner County, North Dakota2,876
Traill County, North Dakota8,477
Paulding County, Ohio20,293
Putnam County, Ohio34,726
Wyandot County, Ohio22,908
Beaver County, Oklahoma5,857
Harper County, Oklahoma3,562
Kingfisher County, Oklahoma13,926
Major County, Oklahoma7,545
Tillamook County, Oregon24,262
Bedford County, Pennsylvania49,984
Fulton County, Pennsylvania14,261
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania42,238
Wayne County, Pennsylvania47,722
Custer County, South Dakota7,275
Deuel County, South Dakota4,498
Grant County, South Dakota7,847
Hand County, South Dakota3,741
Hyde County, South Dakota1,671
Kingsbury County, South Dakota5,815
Lake County, South Dakota11,276
Miner County, South Dakota2,884
Moody County, South Dakota6,595
Sully County, South Dakota1,556
Giles County, Tennessee29,447
Humphreys County, Tennessee17,929
Fayette County, Texas21,804
Gillespie County, Texas20,814
Hartley County, Texas5,537
Kent County, Texas859
Loving County, Texas67
Reagan County, Texas3,326
Beaver County, Utah6,005
Kane County, Utah6,046
Rich County, Utah1,961
Addison County, Vermont35,974
Windham County, Vermont44,216
Alleghany County, Virginia12,926
Bath County, Virginia5,048
Bland County, Virginia6,871
Essex County, Virginia9,989
King George County, Virginia16,803
Madison County, Virginia12,520
Northumberland County, Virginia12,259
Rappahannock County, Virginia6,983
Rockbridge County, Virginia20,808
Shenandoah County, Virginia35,075
Wythe County, Virginia27,599
Barron County, Wisconsin44,963
Buffalo County, Wisconsin13,804
Crawford County, Wisconsin17,243
Door County, Wisconsin27,961
Green Lake County, Wisconsin19,105
Lafayette County, Wisconsin16,137
Marquette County, Wisconsin15,832
Monroe County, Wisconsin40,899
Pepin County, Wisconsin7,213
Polk County, Wisconsin41,319
Price County, Wisconsin15,822
Richland County, Wisconsin17,924
Shawano County, Wisconsin40,664
Taylor County, Wisconsin19,680
Trempealeau County, Wisconsin27,010
Waupaca County, Wisconsin51,731
Converse County, Wyoming12,052
Crook County, Wyoming5,887
Hot Springs County, Wyoming4,882
Lincoln County, Wyoming14,573
Sublette County, Wyoming5,920
Weston County, Wyoming6,644