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County rated as second-best rural place to live
By CHUCK HAYES Staff Writer Times Observer

2/1/2007 - Looking for one of the “Best Places to Live in Rural America?” You’re already there.

The Progressive Farmer” magazine has released its third annual listing of “The Best Places to Live in Rural America.”

And number two on the list is Warren County, Pa.

The magazine, based in Birmingham, Ala., has for the last three years sent representatives into the field to take a look at “quality of life” indicators in rural counties across the nation.

The top ten “Best Places to Live” are ranked and will be profiled in the February 2007 edition of the magazine, which has 690,000 subscribers, primarily in the south and midwest.

The “Top Ten Best Places to Live in Rural America” for 2007, according to the magazine, are:
1. Barren County, Ky.
2. Warren County, Pa.
3. Randolph County, Ill.
4. Gillespie County, Texas
5. Union County, S.D.
6. St. Lawrence County, N.Y.
7. Sac County, Iowa.
8. Garfield County, Okla.
9. Amador County, Calif.
10. Pol County, N.C.

The February issue featuring the “Best Places to Live in Rural America” will be released on Thursday, but in advance promotional material, Warren County, Pa. is described as “ ... on the south side of the New York-Pennsylvania border one hour from Erie, the county is renowned for its rolling hills and vivid seasons.”

“The Progressive Farmer” worked with OnBoard LLC — the same research firm that works with “Money” magazine to develop its “Best Places” list — to identify a preliminary list of 300 desirable rural counties in which to to live.

The selection process involved looking at indicators and statistics related to quality of life issues such as home and land prices, crime rates, air quality, leisure activities, education, access to health care, household income, and household spending.

After the list of candidates was narrowed down, magazine editors traveled for several months to visit the top counties, take photographs, interview residents and “get a feel” for each county.

Ten counties were then chosen as the “Best Places to Live in Rural America.”

Jamie Cole, senior editor of the magazine, said he was the staff member who personally visited Warren County.

“You have an undiscovered gem there,” said Cole.

Deciding how to rank the ten finalists, said Cole, “came down to a bunch of editors sitting around a table and arguing. I made a strong push for Warren County being number one.”

“As far as I’m concerned, if you guys want to say you’re number one, that’s fine with me,” he said.

Basically, the decision between whether Barren County, Ky., or Warren County, Pa., should be put at the top of the list came down to climate, said Cole.

“Their winters are milder,” he said.

Warren County received its highest ratings in the areas of affordability and schools, said Cole.

“Warren County is so beautiful and has so many natural resources, yet land and homes are very affordable compared to the other counties in the ‘Top Ten’” said Cole. “Schools also rated very highly. Families that had lived in other places were very complimentary about the schools. They compare very favorably.”

One of the intangibles, said Cole, “was the people of Warren County.”

The Alabama resident said, “I came up there with the snow flying in October as a stranger and by the end of the week, I had people cooking breakfast for me. People in Warren County are very proud to live where they live and you don’t see that everywhere.”

The February edition of “The Progressive Farmer,” said Cole, will include a 20- to 25-page special section featuring the top ten communities and even more information will be available on the magazine’s website.

The magazine’s special section, Cole said, will include three or four photographs of life in Warren County, including a scene of Tidioute in the fall and family life in Sugar Grove and Bear Lake, as well as an article and statistical charts pertaining to Warren County.

The magazine’s website, said Cole, will include as many as 15 photographs of Warren County.

The magazine is only available by subscription, but all 300 counties will be listed on the magazine’s interactive website ( by region and statistical category.

HomeAG RESOURCES - a directory of agencies, organizations and other resources supporting agriculture in Warren County.  This is an on-line adaptation of Services for Agricultural Producers, a pamphlet produced and sponsored by Penn State Cooperative Extension, Warren County Conservation District, Warren County Farm Bureau, Warren County Commissioners and Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Warren County is a great place to live, and to visit!
bullet Allegheny Almanac - an online magazine from the Pennsylvania North Country.  Beautiful photos and virtual walking tour of Victorian Warren, information about canoeing, fishing, hiking, camping and boating, and links to rural land for sale listings.
bullet Warren, PA : Living and Working in Warren County
For people looking for information on relocating, investing, traveling & doing business in Warren County.
bullet Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry
Includes information on life in Warren County - including schools, hospitals and festivals, Warren County facts, properties available , business resources and more
bullet Warren County in the Pennsylvania Wilds
A visitors guide book to Warren County, PA.  It includes information about Allegheny National Forest, area attractions, lodging, shopping, events, fairs, festivals and real estate listings.
bullet Warren-County.Net
Warren County Government information.  Access to elected officials, county government departments, and frequently used forms.
bullet Warren County Visitors Bureau
"Warren County's community website" includes a business directory, community event calendar, area map, and information about the arts and recreation.
bullet Warren PA: On the Banks of the Allegheny
The City of Warren website provides easy access to information and city resources. 

Penn State Agriculture Data

bullet Economic Development in Warren County
Statistics from Penn State on the contribution of agriculture to the Warren County economy.
bullet Facts about Warren County at Penn State Cooperative Extension
bullet Future of Warren County Agriculture (from PSU Publications and Other Resources)
The following are direct links to the publications on the Penn State University Publications website
bullet Survey instrument (Word document)
bullet Complete survey results (note: this Word file is > 1.5 MB in size)
bullet Executive summary of survey results (81K PDF document, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader ®)

Federal Census Data

bullet Warren County Demographics (as of February, 2008 on The Progressive Farmer website)
bullet 2007 Census of Agriculture: Warren County, PA Profile (a PDF document on the USDA website)
bullet 2002 Census of Agriculture - Warren County PA Profile
Note: This is a PDF document on the USDA website.
bullet MapStats links for Warren County
Federal source for agriculture, population and demographic, and business and banking characteristics
bullet Warren County Quick Facts
U.S. Census Bureau statistics about Warren County people, business and geography

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Updated:  02/05/10