Phase VII Applications

The following states will be participating in Phase VII of SET

Applications for regions are below

Arkansas Regional Application Download

Indiana Regional Application Download

Missouri Regional Application Download

New Mexico Regional Application Download

North Carolina Regional Application Download

Oklahoma Regional Application Download


SET enables three or more contiguous counties in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint for their multi-county region that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region. Creating, attracting and retaining jobs as a single rural county, in isolation from other nearby counties, is becoming increasingly ineffective. In today's global marketplace, economic development progress is more likely to be realized when rural and metro counties work together as a region to assess, design, and implement plans that build on their assets and comparative economic strengths.


Stronger Economies Together is a partnership among the Cooperative Extension Service, USDA Rural Development, the four Regional Rural Development Centers with leadership from the Southern Rural Development Center, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the Purdue Center for Regional Development.



Priority Points for Economically Distressed:

Regions with at least one county that has:

  • A per capita income of 80% or less of the national average and/or:
  • Has an unemployment rate that is at least 1 percent greater than the national average unemployment rate

        For the most recent 24 month period for which data are availble.

Stats America

  1. Select your state, then select your proposed counties one at a time and click 'add county' until all appear in the box.
  2. Click Distress Report ti see Economic Distress Criteria Primary Elements


Rural Definition:

SET regions must meet at least one of these two conditions:

  1. 51% or more of the region's population is classified as rural; OR
  2. 75% of the region's land area is located in rural areas of that region.


Rural Classification by Population:

The Census Bureau defines counties in terms of their metro or nonmetro status (with nonmetro being composed of micropolitan and noncore counties) based on population. A SET region can include a mix of counties (metro and non-metro) as long as the overall percentage is 51% or greater

An example. Below is a table for a potential four county region that includes one metro county. As you can see, 3 of the 4 counties are nonmetro/noncore counties and the percent of the total population that is rural is 99,445/180,872 = 55%. So, it meets the rural population criterion for the region.

County County Type 2014 Pop. 2014 Rural Pop.
Rankin Metro 115,327 46,148
Scott Noncore 28,423 19,948
Smith Noncore 16,182 16,182
Leake Noncore 20,940 17,167
TOTAL   180,872 99,445

Rural Classification by Land Area:

Like the example above for rural definition by poverty, regions can use data on land area to determine whether 75% of the region's land area is located in rural areas of that region.

Rural Data Sources:

  • Census Bureau has data sets that show both population and land area by county.


    Click on “Lists of Population, Land Area, and Percent Urban and Rural in 2010 and Changes from 2000 to 2010”. Then download the file in Excel or   Text that is labeled “Percent urban and rural in 2010 by state and county” to access county level data.

  • Atlas of Rural and Small Town America produced by the Economic Research Service/USDA


    Click on “Download a spreadsheet” just above the green button labeled “Enter the Map.”


Regional applications due: April 6
SET Coaches’ Workshop: To Be Determined
Regions announced: Late April
SET process launched in regions: May 2017 – July 2017

Overview of SET

Overview PowerPoint for Regions   Download

Overview Handout  Download

SET Video   Watch

State Contacts

Phase VII Contacts Coming Soon

Impacts of SET

SET Impacts Infographic   Download

SET Success Stories   Visit

Questions and More Information

Can be directed to Rachel Welborn at or 662.325.5885