From 1970 to 2014, rural counties in the top 25 percentile with federal land saw a population growth of 124 percent, compared to a 26 percent growth in the counties in the bottom 25 percent. Employment in the top counties increased 242 percent, compared to 73 percent in the bottom counties and personal income increased 333 percent in the top 25, compared to 122 percent in the bottom 25. Per capital income was much closer, with an 81 percent increase in the top 25, compared to a 78 percent increase in the bottom 25.
reports for High Country News. "To be fair, the overall gains are thus skewed by a few very wealthy counties, like Colorado’s Summit County (home to ritzy ski resorts) and Teton County, Wyoming (home to Jackson Hole), which had personal income growth of 2,757 and 2,253 percent, respectively." Study author Megan Lawson "says that when she took the top 5 percent—the Vails and Aspens—out of the equation, the difference in economic growth between counties with the highest and lowest protected federal land decreased by about 16 percent. But the overall gains were still significant."
Lawson told Langlois, “We’re data-driven, and our reflex to hearing (recent anti-public lands) rhetoric is to look at the data. There are certainly rural places that are struggling, but that’s not the primary story we’re seeing across the West.”