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July/August 2007

Inside This Issue:


Pennsylvanians on the move: The Outs and Ins of Rural Migration
The number of rural Pennsylvanians moving out of state has been a hot topic for many years. However, data from the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) suggest that the out-migration of rural Pennsylvanians may not be as severe as some have perceived.

A detailed look at data from 2004 to 2005 shows that rural Pennsylvania had a net gain of nearly 9,000 people.

An analysis of data from 2000 to 2005 also shows an overall 11 percent increase in the number of out-of-state residents moving to rural Pennsylvania.

The analysis
To understand migration patterns, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania used the IRS’s County to County Migration Inflow and Outflow data, and selected demographic and economic indicators from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

As with all data, there are limitations. For example, the IRS does not report individual migration if less than 10 tax filers moved from one specific county to another specific county, and the IRS data do not include any demographic characteristics on migrants.

First, let’s look at the people who moved into Pennsylvania counties.

From 2004 to 2005, 114,933 persons moved into rural Pennsylvania. That is slightly more than 4 percent of the total rural population.

Approximately 54 percent of these individuals moved from within Pennsylvania. Among the 62,483 rural residents who moved within Pennsylvania, 51 percent moved from one rural county to another rural county and 49 percent moved from an urban county to a rural county.

Forty-six percent of movers came to rural Pennsylvania from out of state.

When looking at urban in-migration, the analysis found that 301,322 persons moved. Of these, 53 percent moved within Pennsylvania and 47 percent moved in from out of state. Among the 158,313 people who moved within Pennsylvania, an estimated 84 percent moved from one urban county to another and 16 percent moved in from a rural county.

According to the IRS data, migrants coming to rural Pennsylvania came from 90 counties in 20 states. Ninety-four percent of these individuals came from states surrounding Pennsylvania. The largest percentage of these individuals came from New York (41 percent) and New Jersey (26 percent.)

From 2000 to 2005 the number of out-of-staters who moved into rural Pennsylvania increased 11 percent overall. In that same period, the number of out-of-staters moving into urban counties increased 13 percent.

Now let’s look at the people who moved out of Pennsylvania counties. From 2004 to 2005, 105,941 rural Pennsylvanians moved out. That is close to 4 percent of the total rural population. Approximately 57 percent of these individuals moved within Pennsylvania and 43 percent moved out of state. Among the more than 60,800 rural residents who moved within Pennsylvania, an estimated 52 percent moved to another rural county and 48 percent moved to an urban county. 

Among the 45,137 rural residents who moved out of state, 78 percent were from rural counties in central and western Pennsylvania.

Among Pennsylvania’s urban counties, 302,791 persons, or about 4 percent of the urban population, moved out of an urban county from 2004 to 2005. Fifty-two percent of urban movers went to another Pennsylvania county. Among the nearly 160,000 urban residents who moved within Pennsylvania, 83 percent moved to another urban county and 17 percent moved to a rural county.

Forty-eight percent of urban migrants moved out of state. Among the nearly 147,000 urban residents who moved out of state, 31 percent were from Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.

From 2000 to 2005, the number of rural Pennsylvanians moving to other states decreased 2 percent, overall, while the number of urban Pennsylvanians leaving the state increased 2 percent.

Despite its limitations, the IRS data provide a useful window into understanding migration patterns. For example, the analysis shows that most migration is occurring in-state, as migrants move from one Pennsylvania county to another. Among those who move out of state, most do not move far as about 94 percent of rural Pennsylvania migrants move to a state that is adjacent to Pennsylvania.

And while all of the numbers showing in- and out-migration may be a bit overwhelming, the bottom line is that, in total, from 2004 to 2005, rural Pennsylvania had a net gain of nearly 9,000 persons, while urban areas had a net loss of nearly 5,500 persons. 

Complete fact sheet available
For the complete fact sheet, The Outs and Ins of Rural Migration, call or email the Center for Rural Pennsylvania at (717) 787-9555 or, or visit the Center’s website at


Chairman’s Message
We all desire economic success and security for our families but, sometimes, that doesn’t materialize as some families are disconnected from the opportunities and supports they need to succeed. These challenges not only affect families’ current situations, but also the future success of their children.

Through a framework developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, called Rural Family Economic Success, or RuFES, rural families in various states throughout the nation are learning to increase their income (“earn it”), stabilize their financial lives (“keep it”), and acquire assets and build wealth (“grow it”), so that circumstances for their children may likewise improve.

To help rural Pennsylvania communities adopt the Casey Foundation’s approach and realize the opportunities that communities in several other states have experienced, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania will be working with the Casey Foundation and the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group to implement RuFES in rural Pennsylvania.

In the coming months, the Center will be working with members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and with members of local communities to develop a rural-Pennsylvania-specific RuFES initiative.

In general, the initiative will pull together several regional teams. These teams will develop action plans on how their communities can help low-income and low wealth families get ahead by focusing on the RuFES mission of  “earn it, keep it, grow it.”

The teams will be made up of various community members, including business owners, nonprofit organizations, public employees, elected officials, and educators. 

The initiative will also include one team that will take a statewide perspective on policies and programs affecting rural Pennsylvania’s low- and moderate-income families. We envision this team as a statewide policy sparkplug; one that will identify systemic changes and efforts that can lead to improved lives and conditions for rural Pennsylvanians.

For more information on the Casey Foundation’s RuFES initiative, visit The website not only describes the initiative, but also offers information on what other communities have done to "earn it, keep it, grow it."

The Casey Foundation’s “earn it, keep it, grow it” approach to helping rural children by focusing on the well-being of rural families and rural communities is an approach that we want to put in place in Pennsylvania. I believe that the Center for Rural Pennsylvania is the perfect conduit for the initiative as part of our mission is to work with executive agencies and federal, regional and community organizations to maximize resources and strategies that best serve the needs of Pennsylvania’s 3.4 million rural residents, and promote and sustain our rural and small communities.

The Center is looking forward to getting this project off the ground and running. As the initiative evolves, we’ll be sure to keep you informed.

Senator John Gordner


Center Board Elects Officers
At its meeting on June 4, 2007, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s Board of Directors elected Senator John Gordner as board chairman for a full two-year term.

Senator Gordner, who serves the 27th Senatorial District, which includes all of Columbia, Northumberland, Montour and Snyder counties and parts of Luzerne and Dauphin counties, assumed the chairmanship in January 2006 when the Center’s former chairman retired.

Joining Senator Gordner as officers are: Representative Tina Pickett of the 110th Legislative District, which includes Sullivan County and parts of Bradford and Susquehanna counties, as vice chairman; Senator John Wozniak of the 35th Senatorial District, which includes Cambria and Clinton counties and parts of Centre, Clearfield and Somerset counties, as treasurer; and Dr. Nancy Falvo, the director of Clarion University’s Health Science Education Center, as secretary.

The Center’s Board of Directors also includes Representative Tim Seip, who represents the 125th Legislative District, which includes parts of Schuylkill and Berks counties; Steve Crawford, Governor Rendell’s secretary for Legislative Affairs; William Sturgis, executive director of the Pennsylvania Rural Development Council; Dr. Keith T. Miller, president of Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania; Dr. C. Shannon Stokes, professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Pennsylvania State University: Dr. Stephan J. Goetz, executive director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development; and Dr. Robert F. Pack, vice provost for Academic Planning and Resources Management at the University of Pittsburgh.


Research Examines Strengths, Weaknesses of Meat Processing Industry
Pennsylvania ranks among the top 10 states for slaughter in commercial plants for all major categories of livestock. However, the commonwealth continues to lose about 4 to 5 percent of its federally inspected meat and poultry processing plants each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).

To examine the meat and poultry processing industry’s strengths and weaknesses and better understand any role that state government can play in supporting this industry sector, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, in 2004, sponsored research on these processing plants. The research was conducted by Dr. William Henning of Pennsylvania State University, and staff members of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.

The researchers collected data through a mail survey of processing plants, and roundtable discussions and phone conversations with processors, livestock producers, and industry representatives and organizations. Those surveyed included very small plants (10 or fewer employees or less than $2.5 million in annual sales), and small plants (11 to 500 employees and greater than $2.5 million in annual sales). The other category of plants used in the analysis was non-USDA inspected.

The results
Very small and non-USDA plants averaged between four and five employees. Half of very small plants had four or fewer full-time employees. Small plants had an average of 82 employees, and half had 43 or fewer employees.

Nearly one in four meat processing businesses in Pennsylvania has been at its current location for more than 50 years. Very small plants had the longest time at their location with almost 29 percent existing in the same location for more than 50 years.

The results show that the major obstacles to the success of meat and poultry processors are labor costs, including wages, workman’s compensation and taxes; finding and retaining qualified employees; regulatory compliance; and the cost of equipment, supplies, packaging, and ingredients.

To address these obstacles, the researchers suggest the following policy considerations:

Publication available
For a copy of the research results, An Examination of Pennsylvania’s Meat and Poultry Processing Industry, call the Center for Rural Pennsylvania at (717) 787-9555, email or visit


Young Farmers, Future of Hunting Research Results Available
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania released in June the results of two research projects that focused on the future of two vital activities in the commonwealth: farming and hunting.

An Investigation Into the Needs and Concerns of Young Pennsylvania Farmers: Dr. Jason K. Phillips of West Chester University and Dr. Diane M. Phillips of Saint Joseph’s University examined issues that impact young Pennsylvania farmers as they enter farming and attempt to achieve long-term economic viability in farming. The team conducted a series of key informant interviews, issued a mail survey, and analyzed the results. The study results indicate that young Pennsylvania farmers are most concerned about the profitability of their farms and the prospect of being squeezed in both directions. However, young Pennsylvania farmers also realize the valuable benefits associated with the lifestyle of farming.

The Future of Hunting in Pennsylvania: Dr. Thomas Wickham, Dr. Thomas Mueller and Patrick Karnash of California University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Harry Zinn and Chris Voorhees of Pennsylvania State University surveyed hunters during the summer of 2004 to identify socio-demographic characteristics, patterns of hunting participation, and the initiation into hunting among young adult hunting license holders (aged 18-24) and mature hunting license holders (25 and older) to better understand the trends in hunting participation in Pennsylvania and the impact those trends may have on the future of the sport.

Overall, the research found no significant difference between young adult and mature hunters in the percent that hunted in 2003-2004, the percent that hunted during the preceding five years, the percent that anticipated hunting in 2004-2005, or in the distance typically traveled to hunt. To encourage increased hunting participation, the researchers offered several policy considerations including: facilitating hunting participation among citizens who are mobile or reside in urban and suburban areas; introducing potential hunters to mentors; and continuing to study the option of opening up more days to hunting.

For copies of either report,visit the Center’s website at or call (717) 787-9555.


Current Population Survey Illustrates Similarities, Differences Between Rural, Urban Populations
One interesting finding from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s 2007 Rural Pennsylvania Current Population Survey, or RuralPA-CPS, is the demographic similarities that continue to exist among the state’s rural and urban populations from year to year. Another is the financial differences between rural and urban households that continue to exist.

In terms of age, gender and the number of households with children, the average rural and urban household seems strikingly similar.

Financially, however, these households are quite different, as considerable gaps exist in annual household income and unemployment rates.

Current population survey
Since 2005, the Center has been conducting an annual survey of 2,000 rural Pennsylvania households and individuals. In 2006, the Center expanded the survey to include 1,000 urban households and their members.

In the survey, the Center asks this sample of rural and urban residents questions about their families, home, income, employment, educational attainment, health insurance and more.

Over time, these data are helping the Center to develop a better understanding of trends and conditions in rural Pennsylvania.

The 2006 and 2007 results
The results from 2006 and 2007 show that rural and urban household makeup, in terms of who is living in rural and urban households, whether children are present, and the age and gender of householders, continues to be very similar.

For example:

In addition to financial differences, there is an educational gap between rural and urban adults. Twenty-one percent of rural adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 35 percent of urban adults. 

In housing matters, rural households continue to fare better than urban households as 85 percent of rural householders own their own home compared to 80 percent of urban householders. Rural renters pay a median monthly rent of $400, while urban renters pay a median of $600 per month.

More numbers
For a copy of the 2007 RuralPA-CPS results, Rural by the Numbers 2007, call or email the Center for Rural Pennsylvania at (717) 787-9555 or The results are also available online at


An Economic Snapshot of Rural Pennsylvania
Two words may best describe the sentiment surrounding rural Pennsylvania’s economic growth from the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2006: cautiously optimistic. According to an analysis by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, using data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) from the third quarters of 2005 and 2006, new business establishments, wages and employment in rural areas showed slight improvements. To compare and contrast trends in 2006, the Center also used L&I data from the second quarter of 2006.

Business Establishments
Rural Pennsylvania witnessed a 2.5 percent increase in new business establishments, resulting in 1,082 new businesses, from the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2006. New business establishments in rural areas kept a relatively steady pace with urban new business developments, which measured a 2.6 percent increase.

From the second quarter of 2006 to the third quarter of 2006, rural areas saw an overall increase of 1.3 percent, again keeping pace with urban areas at 1.7 percent.

From the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2006, the largest increase in new businesses was in the south central region at 1.4 percent, while the southeast region witnessed the smallest increase of 0.2 percent.

There was an overall increase in employment of 1.1 percent in rural counties from the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2006. Urban counties experienced an increase of 0.7 percent.

Statewide, in 2005, the employment rate grew by 0.9 percent and, in 2006, grew again by 0.8 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate grew 1.7 percent in 2005 and 1.5 percent in 2006.

Statewide, in the third quarter of 2006, the unemployment rate fluctuated between 4.7 percent and 4.8 percent, which was a slight improvement over the third quarter of 2005, when the unemployment rate fluctuated between 4.9 percent and 5 percent.

From the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2006, average weekly wages in rural Pennsylvania increased 0.1 percent. In urban areas, average weekly wages increased 0.5 percent.

From the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2006, the most significant increase in average weekly wages was seen in the northwest region at 0.8 percent, while the most significant decrease was found in the south central region of Pennsylvania at -1.3 percent.

Nationally from 2004 to 2005, wages grew 3.9 percent. Pennsylvania trailed slightly behind with a 3.8 percent increase in wages. However, from the third quarters of 2005 and 2006, wages grew about 1 percent nationally but only about 0.5 percent in Pennsylvania. 

Overall, the rural economy showed a slight improvement from the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2006. Rural counties saw employment increase just over 1 percent and a small increase in average weekly wages of 0.1 percent. Pennsylvania also saw consistent growth in new business establishments, as witnessed from 2004 to 2005 and from 2005 to 2006.

While the growth in rural Pennsylvania’s economy has been slow, it has also been steady, which is a positive sign, and perhaps a reason for some cautious optimism among rural Pennsylvanians.


Number of PA Banks Increases
Pennsylvania has seen an increase in banks and bank branches during the past five years. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) institutional directory, Pennsylvania has witnessed a 2.4 percent growth in banks and bank branches from 2002 to 2006. This growth, however, has not been evenly distributed throughout rural counties.

From 2002 through 2006, the number of urban banks and branches increased 3.4 percent while rural banks and branches increased less than 1 percent. 

During the same five-year period, urban counties witnessed an increase of 23.3 percent in total deposits while rural counties saw an increase of only 2.1 percent.

From 2002 to 2006, deposits per bank in rural counties increased 1.7 percent, growing from about $33 billion to $33.6 billion. In urban counties, during the same period, deposits per bank grew 19.3 percent, from $51.8 billion to $61.8 billion.

On a per-capita basis, the divide between rural and urban counties was again noticeable. Rural counties had $14,043 in deposits per capita while urban counties had $22,427 in deposits per capita.
Statistically, there doesn't seem to be any explanation why urban banks and branches are expanding more rapidly than rural banks and branches. An analysis of key economic indicators, such as population change, employment rates and business development, did not show any correlation or statistical significance among indicators.


Just the Facts: Foreign-Born Residents
In 2005, approximately one in every 50 persons living in rural Pennsylvania was foreign born, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2005 American Community Survey. This is roughly 2 percent of the rural Pennsylvania population; or about 61,500 people.

Of rural Pennsylvania’s foreign-born residents, about 55 percent are naturalized citizens, who took the oath of citizenship, and about 45 percent are resident aliens. In urban Pennsylvania, 6 percent of the population is foreign born; 49 percent of those are naturalized citizens and 51 percent are resident aliens.

Nationally, Pennsylvania ranks 30th in the percentage of foreign-born residents living in the state, as 5 percent of Pennsylvanians are foreign-born. California, New York and New Jersey each have foreign-born populations of 19 percent, the highest national percentage. Montana, Mississippi and West Virginia have the lowest percentage of foreign-born residents at less than 2 percent each.

From 2000 to 2005, rural Pennsylvania counties experienced a net gain of about 9,700 foreign-born residents, according to Census Bureau data. In comparison, urban counties had a net gain of nearly 87,400 foreign-born residents. 

The rural counties with the largest influx of foreign-born residents were Monroe, Franklin, Adams and Centre. Each of these counties gained more than 700 foreign-born residents. The counties with the least number of foreign-born residents moving into the county were Forest, Fulton and Cameron, each with less than six residents.


Did You Know. . .