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Rural Map and Dashboard

We are excited to share the Rural Map and Dashboard that Rural Democracy Initiative developed. This map, and its underlying data, helps answer a common question: “how do we define rural”? We have learned from our grantees that the answer requires nuance. For example, some counties bordering big cities also include significant rural areas, and small cities surrounded by rural areas are different from small suburban cities.

The Rural Map and Dashboard is built on census tracts and draws from city shape files, Daily Yonder county codes, and population density. Users can sort by state, county, and congressional district. The dashboard includes benchmark election results, plus partisan, ideology, and issue scores.

This Rural Map and Dashboard works best when viewing a state or two at a time. If you want to view the whole country simultaneously, we also created this map-only tool.

How might the Rural Democracy network use the Rural Dashboard? We have received enthusiastic feedback and ideas from our grantees and partners. Some initial thoughts:

  • More accurately describe the number and percentage of urban, suburban, small town, and rural residents in each state, county, or congressional district
  • Analyze how electoral trends develop in these different geographies and identify areas of high opportunity
  • Describe the impact of moving 3-5% of the rural or small-town vote in a state or district.




We also used the data in the Dashboard to create this handy 50-state Snapshot of rural and small town voters. It ranks all 50 states by their population share that would be considered rural and small city/town according to our map — we call them Rural+Small City Voters (RSC). It also includes the number of voters compared to population, percentage of population that is BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), and some historic partisan results for comparison. See how your state stacks up!