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Home / Policy, Programs & Research / Programs / Duty to Serve High-Needs Counties Map Instructions

How to use this tool

FHFA created this interactive map to help stakeholders identify rural areas and high-needs rural regions under the Duty to Serve program.

The panel on the left displays a map of the United States. High-needs counties are highlighted in colors to indicate whether they are located in a high-needs region and/or have been designated as a persistent poverty county.

To zoom in or find a particular location, use the tools in the upper left corner of the map. (Hover your mouse over the map to display search tools.)

  • Click on the magnifying glass to search for a city, state, or county.

  • Click on the plus sign to zoom in, the minus sign to zoom out, and the house icon to return to the default map view.

  • Click on the play button for tools that allow you to zoom in on a custom area.

The panel on the right provides a detailed view of an individual county. Census tracts within the county are colored green if they are designated as rural tracts under the DTS program and yellow if they are not DTS rural tracts. (Different agencies have different definitions of “rural" – see below for more details on how rural areas and high-needs rural regions are defined in the DTS regulation.)

Some counties are entirely composed of DTS rural tracts, others only contain tracts that are not rural, and some counties have a mix. The bar chart below the map shows how the population of the county is distributed between DTS rural and not rural tracts.

Click on any county on the U.S. map to see a tract-level view in the right panel. Hover over any county on the U.S. map for summary statistics, including the shares of the county population and state population that live in DTS rural tracts.



Rural area means: (i) A census tract outside of a metropolitan statistical area as designated by the Office of Management and Budget; or (ii) A census tract in a metropolitan statistical area as designated by the Office of Management and Budget that is outside of the metropolitan statistical area's Urbanized Areas as designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) Code #1, and outside of tracts with a housing density of over 64 housing units per square mile for USDA's RUCA Code #2.

High-needs rural region means any of the following regions provided the region is located in a rural area: (i) Middle Appalachia; (ii) The Lower Mississippi Delta; (iii) A colonia; or (iv) A tract located in a persistent poverty county and not included in Middle Appalachia, the Lower Mississippi Delta, or a colonia.

  • Middle Appalachia means the ''central'' Appalachian subregion under the Appalachian Regional Commission's subregional classification of Appalachia.
  • Lower Mississippi Delta means the Lower Mississippi Delta counties designated by Public Laws 100–460, 106–554, and 107–171, along with any future updates made by Congress.
  • Colonia means an identifiable community that meets the definition of a colonia under a federal, State, tribal, or local program.
  • Persistent poverty county means a county in a rural area that has had 20 percent or more of its population living in poverty over the past 30 years, as measured by the most recent successive decennial censuses.


Go to the interactive map.

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