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Working Paper

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The study used Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to examine community attributes of rural counties in West Virginia using variables determining quality of life. This analysis was done to understand the value of the social and economic characteristics associated with different communities as migration patterns in the US are mostly attributed to community characteristics determining the residents’ valuation of the quality of life in an area. County level data was used to identify counties that are inefficient, measured in terms of socioeconomic factors. The data is composed of output variables representing desirable community attributes and input variables representing the undesirable characteristics. Analysis was done by using Data Envelopment Analysis to calculate efficiency scores among rural counties in the State as quantitative measures of the efficient production of quality of life within communities. The results show that the majority of the rural counties in the State lie on the efficiency frontier, while others are classified to be inefficient. The research findings are of interest to policy makers as indicators of community performance which can be used for evaluating counties in terms of quality of life.