Explore Visual Insights from the Distressed Communities Index, provided by the Economic Innovation Group

The Distressed Communities Index is a composite measurement of economic well-being calculated at the zip, city, county, state, and congressional district level based on 7 indicators.

Are you in the American middle class? Find out with our income calculator

About half of American adults lived in middle-income households in 2014, according to anew Pew Research Center analysis of government data. In percentage terms, 51% of adults lived in middle-income households, 29% in lower-income households and 20% in upper-income households.

Western's Economic Impact on West Central Illinois Tops $473 Million

MACOMB, IL -- Since Western Illinois University was established in 1899, the regional public university has contributed economically, culturally and philanthropically to the region. A recent study released by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs' Rural Economic Technical Assistance Center (RETAC) indicates that Western's economic impact within a 16-county region in central Illinois is approximately $473 million.

The complete study can be found at wiu.edu/users/miiira/Newsletter/WIU_Economic_Impact_2016.pdf.

Economic impact studies are just one of the services that the Robin Hanna at the Rural Economic Technical Assistance Center (RETAC) can provide for rural communities.

Contact Robin Hanna for more information.

AM I Rural?

Here is a neat little site from the Rural Health Information HUB (formerly the Rural Assistance Center or RAC). It is called the "Am I Rural? Tool". All you need to do is type in an address and it will give you the health statistics for that area and how that address is formally defined.

2016 Midwest Community Development Institute

The complete Midwest CDI program consists of attending three four-day sessions, referred to as Year One, Year Two, and Year Three.

Year One focuses on the foundations of community development. It covers community development principles and practices, strategic visioning and planning.

Year Two focuses on economic development, It covers the "nuts and bolts" of implementing specific economic development projects.

Year Three focuses on putting it all together: how to coordinate community and economic development efforts for the best possible results.


Midwest CDI sessions will begin at 10 am on Monday, August 15, 2016, and will end at 1 pm, Thursday, August 18, 2016. Only participants who attend ALL sessions will receive credit.

Register Now!

 27th Annual Rural Community Economic Development Conference

This year's conference is scheduled for March 9 and 10, 2016, in Springfield, Illinois. Watch this website for more information.

Master Degree Program in Community and Economic Development

teaching_adultsNow Accepting Applications

The Master of Community and Economic Development (CED) degree program is designed to enhance the skills of CED professionals and those wishing to enter the field. Graduates of this program will develop skills in social mobilization, civic engagement, business management, and strategic planning needed when taking on leadership roles in improving the economic well-being and overall quality of life in communities and regions.

This degree is designed for mid-career professionals, although all qualified students will be considered for admission. Courses will begin with an intensive weekend academy at WIU’s Quad Cities. Subsequent classes and coursework will be delivered using both synchronous and asynchronous online methods. This unique hybrid delivery method will make it possible for students to work full time at the same time they pursue a Master’s degree full-time and complete all coursework in 16 months.