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Do scenic amenities foster economic growth in rural areas?


  • Jason Henderson
  • Kendall McDaniel


Rural areas in the Tenth District are experiencing a period of renewed economic growth in the 1990s. After a decade of lackluster performance in the 1980s, rural areas are enjoying stronger employment and income growth. Employment growth in rural areas has averaged almost 2 percent per year from 1990 to 1995,while incomes have risen just less than 1 percent per year. ; While the district's rural economy has rebounded in the 1990s, only about a third of all rural counties have shared in the recovery. There may be a number of reasons for the uneven recovery, but analysts have noted than many of the high-growth rural counties enjoy high levels of scenic amenities. In addition, research has shown that rural counties near urban areas experience stronger growth than more remote counties. In fact, over three-fourths of the high-growth rural counties in the Tenth District either have high levels of scenic amenities or are near an urban area. The impact of scenic amenities on economic performance has been discussed for years, but to date no formal study has been conducted. ; This article examines the recent economic performance of scenic rural counties in the Tenth District. The article begins by defining scenic rural counties and then compares economic performance in these counties with other rural counties. The results show that scenic rural counties have experienced higher employment and income growth than other rural areas. Moreover, scenic rural counties near urban areas have enjoyed higher employment and income growth than more remote scenic places.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Henderson & Kendall McDaniel, 1998. "Do scenic amenities foster economic growth in rural areas?," Regional Economic Digest, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 11-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkre:y:1998:i:qi:p:11-16

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    1. Henderson, Jason R. & McDaniel, Kendall, 2000. "The Impact Of Scenic Amenities On Rural Employment Growth," 2000 Annual meeting, July 30-August 2, Tampa, FL 21725, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

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    Federal Reserve District; 10th ; Rural areas;


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