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District Digest: Measuring Social Capital Across the Fifth District
How cliquey is your community? How often do people from different income groups in your area befriend one another? Do your neighbors volunteer their time to charitable causes? Social scientists have long studied social capital — the strength and value of social networks within communities — as well as its effects on economic, health, and political outcomes. Political scientists have linked higher civic engagement with the strength of democratic institutions, while economists have studied the role that friendships across socioeconomic statuses might have in fostering economic mobility.
Updates to Rural and Urban Areas Based on the 2020 Census
Earlier this year, the U.S. Census Bureau released updated boundaries for urban areas based on the 2020 census. These definitions are widely used by analysts, researchers, and government agencies. Federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Education incorporate the designations into their own urban-rural classifications. The U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development use census-based classifications in their funding formulas and to make decisions about program eligibility. This post examines the U.S. Census ...
The Federal Reserve’s COVID-19 Community Impact Survey
The Federal Reserve developed and fielded a survey of community-based organizations to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on their operations and the communities they serve. Fifth District respondents in April and June expressed that while organizations and communities are experiencing significant disruptions, effects are expected to be longer-lasting for the latter.
Employment Barriers in the Rural Fifth District
In Virginia, 75 percent of working-age adults are employed, in line with the national average of 74 percent. But there are significant disparities across geographies. In Loudoun County, Va., in the Washington, D.C., metro area, the share is 84.1 percent. On the other side of the state, in Lee County, just 48.2 percent of working-age adults are employed. This is true of many socioeconomic indicators: Aggregation is necessary to understand broad outcomes, but with aggregation, we lose important geographic distinctions and, thus, the opportunity to identify both challenges and solutions. This is ...
Is Rental Assistance Getting to Those in Need?
Introducing Rural Spotlights
After the Eviction Moratorium: How Are Renters Faring?
An estimated 2.7 million U.S. households received an eviction filing in 2018. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, a wave of federal, state, and local regulations halted the eviction process as renters coped with employment disruption and income loss. The federal eviction moratorium ended in August 2021, which raises the question: How have renters in the Fifth District been faring over the past year? Evidence suggests that evictions are increasing back to pre-pandemic levels but are not surging higher as some had feared. This post examines how renters in the Fifth District are faring ...
Households Confront the End of Pandemic-Era Assistance Programs
The U.S. government, beginning in March 2020, took extraordinary measures in response to the emergence and spread of the novel coronavirus. Through policy changes and major spending bills, the federal government directed funds to help states, localities, and households manage the economic challenges caused by the pandemic. Two of the many measures that the government took to directly aid households were increasing the flexibility and benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and pausing federal student loan payments. Now that enhanced SNAP benefits have ended and ...
District Digest: Community Colleges as Anchor Institutions in Rural Areas
The Fifth Federal Reserve District — comprising Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, most of West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. — is home to 122 public two-year institutions that have a wide range of both traditional academic and technical programs. More than half of these community colleges are located in rural counties. The 66 rural community colleges, like the private and public four-year institutions of higher education in rural areas, play an anchor institution role in their communities. But this role is not always accounted for in the formulas that federal, state, ...