This map got my attention because of the disproportionate amount of “green” in the rural intermountain west. In this case it means counties have a disproportionately high number of employees in jobs like management, finance, technology, engineering, science, sales, entertainment and non-primary education (and of course lawyering).
“The creative-class thesis holds that communities that attract and retain more workers who are in creative occupations will fare better in today’s economy.”
From the background paper linked to this article:
“Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class makes a compelling argument that urban development now depends on novel combinations of knowledge and ideas, that certain occupations specialize in this task, that people in these occupations are drawn to areas providing a high quality of life, and that the essential development strategy is to create an environment that attracts and retains these workers. While developed with urban areas in mind, this thesis may be particularly relevant in rural areas, which lose much of their young talent as high school graduates leave for college, the armed forces, or “city lights.” Our analysis of recent development in rural U.S. counties, which focuses on natural amenities (for which ERS has also computed county-level scores) as quality-of-life indicators, supports the creative class thesis.”
So, perceived natural amenities attract creative workers who improve local economies. With a caveat that “growth and success among creative-class workers doesn’t necessarily extend economic benefits to other parts of the economy, such as blue-collar and service workers, at least in metro areas.” (All wages go up, but housing costs go up more.)
So maybe all this is saying is to get the right kind of education so you can do well and live in a nice place, but it might also paint a promising picture for these rural “green” counties.