Before you read this post, take a few moments and think of how you would answer this question:
How would you describe Richland County in one to three words?
Put another way, what few words capture the essence of this place, from culture to economy to opportunity?
Now consider whether any of the following 15 words or sets of words apply:
These terms mean a great deal to the American Communities Project, which has mapped the US to identify the way that individual localities work and function. The Project is a collaboration between, among other partners, the George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Michigan State University School of Journalism.
According to the Project website, “Even within the same state, community differences can be stark. The differences between a metropolitan area and a rural locale 50 miles away can be greater than that same city and another metro area 500 miles away.”
The result of the mapping is a tool for understanding “the subtleties and complexities of the United States as the country reimagines its future and its place in the world.”
So what about Richland County?
According to the Project, Richland County is a “Middle Suburb” surrounded by “Rural Middle America” counties (Knox, Morrow, Crawford and Ashland) and one “Working Class Country” county (Huron). The full US map can be seen on the Project home page (link above).
“Middle Suburbs” are described this way — “Middle income, low diversity, and below average for college education.” There are 77 of counties located around major cities in the Northeast and East; more information is available here.
The Project uses this mapping in its series of looks at American life, most recently looking at American’s leisure time and the results of the US Presidential election among the various community types. Those stories can be found here.