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Well-Being in Rural California 2023

Well-Being in Rural California 2023 paints a picture of well-being and access to opportunity across race, place, and gender in rural California today. Using the American Human Development Index (HDI), this report presents how residents in rural California are doing on three key dimensions of well-being—a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Broken down by race and ethnicity, by gender, and by census tract, the index shows how communities are faring relative to one another and to the state and country as a whole. The report found that stark variation exists by place and by demographic group—resulting in significant inequalities across rural areas.

Debunking Risk in Food System Lending

Food and agriculture-related businesses are often perceived as too risky for traditional lending approaches, yet CDFA research tells a different story. This report, with loan-level data from over a thousand funds nationwide, demonstrates that food system loans perform and that revolving loan funds can successfully support local food system borrowers in their communities. CDFA

Bank Lending and the Financial Crisis

This report provides an analysis of how lending changed overall and in rural vs. urban areas before, during, and after the financial crisis of 2008-2010. The analysis shows that rural firms have poorer access to bank credit than their urban counterparts in terms of both the amount and number of loans and that this situation has deteriorated, rather than improved during the post-crisis years of 2011-2016.

Community Quality of Life Placemaking

Entrepreneurial ecosystem building is about growing an environment where entrepreneurial talent can be inspired and supported. More and better entrepreneurial ventures are outcomes of strong community-based entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Local Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Toolkit

Rural economic development strategies need to adjust to these new trends to include a place-based approach to rural economic development that will foster a healthy ecosystem for the creation and growth of small businesses.

This toolkit describes the elements of a healthy ecosystem. The introduction flushes out why a new economic development tool is needed and briefly describes the elements. The five subsequent chapters explore more in-depth the five elements that make up a strong ecosystem.

California Feudalism & The Middle Class

California Feudalism: The Squeeze on The Middle Class Chapman University, Center for Demographics and Policy First published October 2018 California was built by people with aspirations, many of them lacking cultural polish or elite educations, but dedicated to hard work, innovation, family, and community. A large number came from other countries or poor backgrounds: sharecroppers

The Retreat of the Rural Entrepreneur

The SBA issued The Retreat of the Rural Entrepreneur. In 1988, more than a fourth of the self-employed lived in rural areas. By 2016, that share had fallen to less than 1 in 6 as the US population shifted away from rural areas and the rural rate of self-employment fell. In fact, between 1988 and 2016, the rural rate of self-employment fell by over 20 percent. Despite that decline, the rate of self-employment has remained higher in rural areas than in urban and suburban areas.

Challenges of African-American Entrepreneurs

The report, entitled “Stuck From The Start: The Financial Challenges of Low- and Moderate-Income African-American Entrepreneurs in the South,” reflects interviews with 30 African-American business owners in eastern North Carolina, southwestern Georgia and the Jackson and Delta regions of Mississippi. The project was launched to better understand why Black-owned businesses struggle to succeed relative to their White peers.

Determinants of Rural Self-Employment

The sustained surge in rural self-employment since 2000 has largely gone unnoticed by policymakers and rural economic developers. Here we document this increase and identify variables associated with expanding self-employment using county-level data. Our regression analysis draws largely on two previous studies, which we update and refine by using more nuanced measures of rural. Results provide mixed evidence about the importance of capital access to self-employment growth but reveal that different policies are needed in rural counties depending on their proximity to metro areas and overall population size if the goal is to increase future rural self-employment rates.

Unauthorized Immigrants in CA

Unauthorized immigrants have been a part of many California industries and communities for decades, but recent and comprehensive information about the numbers and location of this population within California—at the county and sub-county level—does not exist.