Patchworknation.org is a website that defines, identifies, and analyzes a number of different “community types”. Based on the economics and demographics of a particular area, it classifies communities as “Boom Towns”, “Military Bastions”, “Tractor Country”, “Immigration Nation”, etc. You can type in your zipcode and find out which community type you live in.
Incidentally, Boyle County, Kentucky, where Centre College is located, is an “Evangelical Epicenter” which is defined as community with “a high proportion of evangelical Christians, found mostly in small towns and suburbs; slightly older than the U.S. average; loyal Republican voters”.
The website also provides an average “hardship index” measure for each different type of community in the U.S. This measure includes an index based on gas prices, unemployment, and foreclosures. Here is the index as of September:
I will admit I am somewhat surprised to see “Mormon Outposts” with the highest degree of economic hardship, even more so than “Boom Towns” or “Industrial Metropoli”. I wonder what it is about the culture in the Rocky Mountain west that leads to a higher incidence of unemployment and foreclosures.