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Rural Communities

The Definition of Community

Based on the Rural Communities Explorers definition of communities, a community has several components: the people, the place, the structure (governance), and the inter-personal relationships. Though the ultimate focus is on groups of people who live in the same geographic area of places or counties, we recognize that within these geographic areas a community of people also shares interests, practice, and social relationships. The reason for the focus on geographic communities is so that visitors to the Rural Communities Explorer can access and use information about the social, environmental, and economic attributes of communities in rural Oregon.

Memorial Fountain on the Linfield College campus in McMinnville: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

Memorial Fountain on the Linfield College campus in McMinnville:
Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

Why Care about Communities?

It is often helpful to have specific information about the people, the place, the governance, and the social relationships linking people together in a community. This information can be used to find out if the perceptions about a community are true, to examine what factors are driving changes in a community, and to plan for the future in the community. You can use the Rural Communities Explorer to gather this information about communities across Oregon.

Use the Oregon Communities Reporter Tool to explore the the social, environmental, and economic features of the:

  • 1396 named places and
  • 36 counties in Oregon

How Do Communities Work?

Community Model

Community Model

Learn more about what a community is and how various attributes or characteristics of communities interact by exploring the Community Model.

Learn about the Community Model
See an example of how the Community Model is used

Authored by Lena Etuk, Social Demographer, Oregon State University Extension Service (2008)