Tennessee’s prosperous rural counties: guess which ones

November 9, 2007

A new website that I really like, The Daily Yonder, has been following the work of Andrew Isserman, an economist at the University of Illinois who studies rural areas. A Daily Yonder article today focuses on rural America’s most prosperous counties, which are defined as counties “that have better housing, a more educated population, less poverty and more jobs than the national average.”

I tried to guess how many and which ones these would be in Tennessee. Out of 95 counties, I thought, we should have five above average, but which ones? Williamson County is the wealthiest one in Tennessee, but it isn’t rural. I guessed Greene County in East Tennessee and figured that any others would be within 30 miles of Nashville.

Wrong. Tennessee has just two “prosperous” counties: Giles and Humphreys. I drove cross Giles County last week, and it certainly looks prosperous. The larger question, however, is Why are these counties prosperous?

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Giles County Courthouse

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Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe sold to songwriters

November 9, 2007

The Bluebird Cafe, long famous for concerts of songwriters playing their work–and making sure the audience shuts up to listen to them–has been sold to the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). The official handover takes place on January 1 of 2008.

An article in today’s Tennessean quotes Bluebird founder Amy Kurland as saying, “I wanted to retire, but I didn’t want The Bluebird to go away.” The legendary club was where Garth Brooks was discovered in 1988, and artists such a Faith Hill and Trisha Yearwood played there as well.

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