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September/October 2008

Inside This Issue:


New Study Projects Wealth Transfer of $1.17 Trillion in Pennsylvania Over Next 50 Years
A new study sponsored by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania projects $1.17 trillion in personal wealth will be transferred among Pennsylvania generations by 2055, with $193.38 billion changing hands by 2015. If just 5 percent of the wealth being transferred by 2015 could be captured for community endowments, about $9.67 billion could be permanently set aside for future community betterment projects.

“This transfer of wealth provides all Pennsylvania communities with an historic opportunity for charitable investments,” said Senator John R. Gordner, chairman of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. “The Center hopes this study will start conversations among philanthropic groups, community and economic development organizations, financial planners, agricultural interests, community residents and others working to enhance the quality of life in their community.

“We hope that, once residents understand the power of their charitable giving, they’ll consider making a charitable investment now or through their wills to strengthen their community for generations to come,” Sen. Gordner said.

The study, which estimated the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next from 2005 to 2055, also includes wealth scenarios for all 67 Pennsylvania counties.

Adams County, for example, will see $9.25 billion transferred from one generation to the next by 2055. $1.35 billion, or about $38,000 per household, is expected to change hands by 2015.

The study follows the work of Boston College researchers who found the United States was at the beginning of a $41 trillion transfer of wealth from one generation to the next.  The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship conducted the Pennsylvania study and has conducted research in more than 10 states, including Wisconsin, Nebraska, Wyoming and Indiana.

Conducting the research
The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship developed a methodology for creating scenarios for inter-generational wealth transfer for the state and its counties. In general, the goal of the research was to generate conservative scenarios for the likely transfer of wealth from the base year of 2005 to 2055. To complete the research, the researchers: established state and county current net worth (CNW); benchmarked the analysis to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds Accounts of the United States; matched state and county demographic characteristics with key indicators from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances Report to estimate likely CNW for the state and its counties; customized the estimates to the unique characteristics of Pennsylvania and its counties; built a population model for the 50-year timeframe and an economic forecasting model for the state and each county; employed a discounting methodology to reduce the value of the CNW projections to generate a transfer of wealth estimate; projected estimates for the number of deaths throughout the analysis timeframe to estimate when monies may be released; worked with a Pennsylvania-based committee to review the findings and the assumptions; and generated state CNW and transfer of wealth estimates by aggregating the findings for all counties.

Making the transfer work for communities
By tapping into some of the wealth that is projected to change hands over the next 10 to 50 years, Pennsylvania communities could take advantage of sustainable funding for community projects.

 “This is an opportunity to think about community investment in a new way,” said Barry Denk, director of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. “If residents think of their community as another heir and contribute just 5 percent of their wealth to their community, they can dramatically improve and sustain their community’s quality of life for decades to come. This indeed would be a legacy.”

Report, county scenarios available online
The report, Wealth Transfer in Pennsylvania, and the 67 county scenarios are available online at Copies of the wealth transfer report are also available by calling the Center for Rural Pennsylvania at (717) 787-9555.


Chairman’s Message
Harvest time is here. Across the state, our agricultural community is busy taking product to market, now able to realize a return on investment after months of hard work, passion and commitment to their land. This cycle of hard work and financial gain has occurred for centuries in agriculture, and all other industries, in Pennsylvania. It speaks to one of our country’s basic economic beliefs - if you work hard, you can build personal wealth.

Pennsylvanians also have a strong history of sharing their personal wealth with their community and those less fortunate. According to Internal Revenue Service data, in 2006, Pennsylvanians gave $6.27 billion to charitable organizations. That’s an average of $3,743 per household: an amount that ranked the commonwealth seventh in the nation for charitable giving.

On a larger scale, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania wanted to know how much personal wealth accumulated by Pennsylvanians will be transferred, or passed on, to future generations over the next several decades, and whether some of that wealth may be garnered to support community projects. A recently completed study, sponsored by the Center, is helping to answer those questions.

According to Wealth Transfer in Pennsylvania, about $1.17 trillion in assets and personal wealth will be transferred among Pennsylvania generations by 2055, and about $193 billion will change hands by 2015. Along with the state total, the report provides projections for all 67 Pennsylvania counties, showing the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next from 2005 to 2055. In my home county of Columbia, $1.01 billion is expected to transfer from one generation to the next by 2015; and over the next 50 years, it is estimated that more than $5.81 billion with be transferred from one generation to the next.

Garnering just a small portion of that wealth can go a long way in supporting service organizations, hospitals, schools, and other community initiatives that enhance the quality of life for all Columbia County residents.

For every county in Pennsylvania, this transfer of wealth provides an historic opportunity for charitable investments and community betterment.

With the release of the report, Wealth Transfer in Pennsylvania, the Center is hoping that conversations among philanthropic groups, community and economic development organizations, financial planners, agricultural interests, community residents and others will occur so that there is greater understanding as to how this wealth transfer can have a large, positive impact for community betterment.

The state of Nebraska and its community foundation can serve as an example of what may be accomplished if just a small portion of personal wealth is endowed to the community. In the last five years, nearly 25,000 individual donations have been given to the Nebraska foundation. And since its formation in 1993, the Nebraska Community Foundation has reinvested more than $51 million in Nebraska and its hometowns. With Pennsylvania’s existing network of fine community foundations, much of the infrastructure exists to manage and direct a transfer of wealth campaign. This is a harvest that will require much hard work and talent. But, certainly, it is one that will provide much return on investment.

Senator John Gordner


Research Evaluates Septic System Failures
More than 1.3 million housing units, or about 25 percent of all housing units, in Pennsylvania use on-lot septic systems (OLS), according to research recently released by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

The true extent of statewide OLS failures and the associated costs for homeowners, however, have not been quantified, as neither the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) nor most local governments have maintained effective record keeping systems that allow for the analysis of failure issues. Further, as growth continues in rural Pennsylvania municipalities, there is some concern that there is not enough suitable land for OLS, which may slow future growth.

To evaluate OLS failure and cost issues, Dr. Rick Day, Dr. Yuanhong Zhu, Stewart Bruce and Amy Franklin of Pennsylvania State University conducted research in 2006 by estimating the number of private OLS in Pennsylvania.

As part of the project, the researchers also: evaluated septic system repairs to quantify OLS failures, including failure rates, nature of failures, cost of repairs, and causes of failures; evaluated the amount of land available for future housing development using OLS at the municipal level; and examined the relationship between the effective date of the Sewage Facilities Act (Act 537) plans and the number of repair permits issued.

The researchers used United States Census Bureau data and DEP permit data to conduct the research. They also surveyed sewage enforcement officers, and homeowners from DEP’s northeastern and southcentral regions that had received a repair permit in 2004 from DEP.
Some of the most significant findings from the study are as follows:

For a copy of the research report, An Evaluation of Failing Private Septic Systems in Pennsylvania, call the Center for Rural Pennsylvania at (717) 787-9555 or visit


Study Examines HIV/AIDS Services in Rural Pennsylvania
HIV/AIDS continues to be a health concern across the United States and Pennsylvania since its limited beginnings in the early 1980s. Advances in the treatment of HIV in the mid 1990s, primarily in the form of a combination of antiretroviral drug therapy, have led to a major shift in the progression of the disease, with fewer cases of AIDS, and lowered death rates, even as estimates suggest that rates of HIV infection appear to be on the increase.

From 2004 to 2006. Dr. Mark Kilwein, Jeff Curtis, and Donna Woodman of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, through a grant from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, investigated services and local support networks available to rural Pennsylvanians living with HIV/AIDS.

The research analyzed the extent of data available; reviewed current trends and made short term predictions of rural infection rates; described current services available and the role of the state in funding and supporting these services; compared Pennsylvania to other states identified as leaders in the provision of services and data collection; and identified policy considerations for the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

The research data was gathered from interviews with key informants, library holdings, and the electronic media including the Internet, government databases, and scholarly databases to identify all data on HIV/AIDS that are relevant to Pennsylvania. The administrative staff of the seven HIV/AIDS Title II Planning Regions in the commonwealth and service providers assisted in determining the kind of data desired and in describing differences between desired data and what is available.

Based on the research, the researchers offered several policy suggestions to address the needs of rural Pennsylvanians living with HIV/AIDS. A single, overriding issue included in most of the recommendations was the opportunity for improved communication and cooperation between the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the seven regional planning coalitions. While a clear division of roles may be important, it was apparent from the research that opportunities exist for the state to take a proactive role in helping the regional planning coalitions do more for the people they serve. Several of the policy considerations offered by the researchers outlined how such a new partnership could be constructive. For example, the researchers suggested increased collaboration with transportation services and the adoption of a continuum of care model that is sensitive to the needs of rural Pennsylvania.

For a copy of the report, An Inventory and Evaluation of HIV/AIDS Support Networks in Rural Pennsylvania, call the Center for Rural Pennsylvania or visit


Rural Municipalities Compete for State Recreation Funding
In rural Pennsylvania, municipalities are an important provider of recreational facilities and activities. According to the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services, in 2005, the state’s 1,655 rural municipalities spent a total of $25.5 million on recreation. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (DCNR) Bureau of Recreation and Conservation (BRC) is responsible for assisting communities in planning, acquiring and developing recreation facilities by awarding millions of dollars in grants each year to help communities conserve natural and cultural resources, provide outdoor recreation, enhance tourism, and foster economic development. 

To learn more about the rural municipalities that apply for BRC grants and to understand whether these municipalities are successful in securing funding, the Center analyzed BRC data from 1998 to 2007.

The Center also used demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and Municipal Financial Statistics data from the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services. The additional data were used to better understand the characteristics of municipalities that applied for and received funding.

The Center’s analysis focused only on municipal governments and excluded all other organizations, such as land trusts, nonprofit organizations, county governments, and state/federal government agencies.

Applying for grants
Municipalities account for the majority of grant applications (61 percent); the majority of successful grant applications (57 percent); and the largest share of total grant awards (39 percent). Municipal authorities and councils of governments accounted for 4 percent of the grant applications.  

From 1998 to 2007, 1,356 (53 percent) Pennsylvania municipalities applied for BRC grants and 1,207 (47 percent) did not. Among Pennsylvania’s rural municipalities, 38 percent applied and 62 percent did not. Among urban municipalities, 80 percent applied and 20 percent did not.

Among rural municipalities, there are a number of significant differences between those that applied for funding and those that did not. For example, rural townships were less likely to apply for a grant than rural boroughs (33 percent vs. 49 percent, respectively), and rural municipalities that applied for a grant had, on average, nearly 970 more residents than those that did not.

Funding requests
Among the 626 rural municipalities that submitted applications to BRC, the total funding needed to complete all projects was $167.8 million, or an average of $122,539 per project. However, these municipalities only requested $81.9 million in funding, or 49 percent of the projects’ total costs.

There was a similar pattern among the 730 urban municipalities that submitted applications. The total funding needed to complete projects was $743.1 million, or an average of $285,496 per project. The total request to BRC, however, was $274.7 million, or 39 percent of the funding needed to complete the projects. 

Fifty-six percent of the projects in rural municipalities had a total cost of less than $50,000 and 1 percent had total costs of $1 million or more. Among urban municipalities, about 30 percent of the projects had a total cost of less than $50,000 and 5 percent were for $1 million or more.

Application approval
Municipalities may submit more than one grant application to BRC. Of the 1,378 applications submitted by rural municipalities, 54 percent were approved for funding. Among the 2,613 applications submitted by urban municipalities, 50 percent were approved. Among both rural and urban municipalities, applicants who submitting one application had a higher approval rate than applicants who submitted multiple applications.

Funding awards
The total funding for rural municipalities was $40.5 million, or an average of $54,588 per project. Rural projects were funded at 87 percent of the requested amount. The total funding for urban municipalities was $116.5 million, or $89,686 per project. Urban projects received 80 percent of the requested amount.

On a per capita basis, projects in rural municipalities received $36 per person and projects in urban municipalities received $15 per person.

Sources of funding
The most frequently used funding source for rural and urban municipal projects was the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund. Approved by the legislature in 1993, this fund receives its revenue through a portion of the state’s Reality Transfer Tax. From 1998 to 2007, the Keystone fund was used to finance 85 percent of the rural municipal projects for a total of $31.1 million. Sixty-three percent of the funds were used for development projects. Among urban municipalities, this funding source was used to finance 82 percent of the projects for a total of $89.7 million. Seventy-three percent of these funds went for development projects.

The second most frequently used funding source for rural municipalities was Growing Greener 2. Approved by voters in a 2005 bond referendum, this funding source was used by 9 percent of rural municipalities for a total of $5.3 million. Among urban municipalities, Growing Greener 2 was used in 5 percent of the projects for a total of $6.3 million. 

Fact sheet available
For the complete fact sheet, Funding for Municipal Recreation Projects, visit the Center’s website at or call (717) 787-9555.


Let’s Eat Out Tonight
“Where should we eat tonight?” Is that a familiar question in your household? According to Meal Consumption Behavior 2000, a report by the National Restaurant Association, Americans consumed an average of about four meals per week that was prepared in a commercial setting.

Fortunately, for many rural Pennsylvanians, there are a good number of options for eating out. One is a full-service restaurant, such as a family diner where you eat in and pay afterward. Another is a limited-service restaurant, such as a fast-food establishment or take-out pizzeria, where you pay before eating.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006 County Business Patterns report, there are 4,750 restaurants in rural Pennsylvania, or roughly one restaurant for every 720 residents. Urban areas have 14,200 restaurants, or one restaurant for every 630 residents.

Nationally, in 2006, there were nearly 470,000 restaurants, or one restaurant for every 637 persons. Among the states, Pennsylvania ranked 33rd in the number of restaurants per capita. Hawaii, Montana and Rhode Island had the most restaurants while Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi had the least.

Within rural Pennsylvania, the number of restaurants increased 5 percent from 2000 to 2006. In 2006, 48 percent of the restaurants in rural Pennsylvania were full-service and 52 percent were limited service. In urban areas, the number of restaurant increased 16 percent from 2000 to 2006. In 2006, 44 percent of restaurants were full-service and 56 percent were limited service.

Nationally, there has been a 13 percent increase in restaurants. Fifty-eight percent of restaurants in the United State are full-service and 42 percent are limited-service.

From 2000 to 2006, the number of full-service restaurants in rural Pennsylvania declined 1 percent, while limited service restaurants increased 14 percent. Urban areas saw a 7 percent increase in full-service restaurants and a 22 percent increase in limited-service restaurants.


Fast Fact: Number of Gas and Oil Wells Dug in Pennsylvania, 1999-2007

Data source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection


Just the Facts: Motorcycles Are Everywhere
Motorcycle ownership is on the rise in Pennsylvania, especially in rural areas. According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), in 2007, there were more than 134,000 registered motorcycles in rural Pennsylvania, an increase of 78 percent from 2000, when there were about 75,400 registered motorcycles.

In urban areas, the number of registered motorcycles went from 134,898 in 2000 to 222,730 in 2007, an increase of 65 percent.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007, rural Pennsylvania had 113 motorcycle dealers, an increase of 45 percent from 2000. Urban areas had 136 motorcycle dealers in 2007, an increase of 11 percent since 2000.

Nationally, data from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration showed a 56 percent increase in motorcycle registration between 2000 and 2006. Montana tripled and Arkansas doubled the number of registered motorcycles during this period. Pennsylvania had the 25th largest increase in registered motorcycles among all states.

On a per capita basis, rural Pennsylvania counties have more motorcycles than urban counties. In 2007, there were 39 motorcycles registered for every 1,000 residents. In urban areas, there were 25 motorcycles registered for every 1,000 residents.

The counties with the highest motorcycles per capita were Cameron, Somerset and Elk, each with more than 50 motorcycles for every 1,000 residents. Among the 50 states, in 2006, Pennsylvania ranked 18th in the number of motorcycles per capita. Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota had the most, with more than 65 motorcycles for every 1,000 residents.

The median age of motorcycle riders also continues to rise.

According to a report from the Harley Davidson Company, the median age of Harley motorcycle owners is 47 years old.

Another source, “Sports Rider,” a magazine for all types of motorcycle enthusiasts, puts the median age at 43 years, and notes that today’s riders are typically married college graduates that earn well over $75,000 a year.

Number of Motorcycles Registered in Rural and Urban PA Per 1,000 Residents, 2000 and 2007

Source: PennDOT