Category: Vulnerable Families Research Program

Resource Category Topic Type
Rural Demographic Change in the New Century: Slower Growth, Increased Diversity
This brief examines rural demographic trends in the first decade of the twenty-first century using newly available data from the 2010 Census. The rural population grew by just 2.2 million between 2000 and 2010—a gain barely half as great as that during the 1990s. Population growth was particularly slow in farming and mining counties and sharply reduced in rural manufacturing counties.
Demography, Vulnerable Families Research Program Demography, Rural Publication
Rural Families Choose Home-Based Child Care for their Preschool-Aged Children
This policy brief examines who is taking care of preschoolers of employed mothers in rural America. While most rural families choose home-based child care (such as relatives or informal nonrelated care providers), formal care (such as in day care centers) has positive benefits to a child's development. The brief recommends that programs are needed that either make formal care more affordable and accessible in rural communities, or that train home-based care providers to provide quality care.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Education, Family, Rural Publication
Rural Families with a Child Abuse Report are More Likely Headed by a Single Parent and Endure Economic and Family Stress
This brief, which is based on data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, finds that rural families who have been reported to Child Protective Services are more likely than urban families to have financial difficulties and high family stress, as well as grow up in single-parent households. To effectively address these issues, the brief urges policy makers to look at the lack of accessible and adequate services for struggling rural families.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Family, Health, Rural Publication
Rural Soldiers Continue to Account for Disproportionately High Share of U.S. Casualities in Iraq and Afghanistan
When the nation goes to war, all Americans are expected to make sacrifices. Today's rural Americans, however, have fewer job opportunities within their communities, and are joining the military at higher rates. In turn, rural communities are facing military losses in disproportionate numbers to their urban counterparts.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Mortality, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Rural Workers Have Less Access to Paid Sick Days
This brief, using data from the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce (NSCW) survey, analyzes paid sick time rates of workers by place and type of work. Paid sick days provide job protection to workers and a steady paycheck when they need to care for themselves or family members. Paid sick days also help workers with more limited resources who cannot otherwise afford to take a day off. Authors Kristin Smith and Andrew Schaefer report that a greater proportion of rural workers than urban workers (both suburban and central-city) lack access to at least five paid sick days per year. Their analysis suggests that where one works matters, both geographically and by sector, and the quality of the job also matters. The rural disadvantage is particularly pronounced among rural private-sector workers and part-time workers, but even rural full-time workers have less access to paid sick days than their urban counterparts.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Family, Health, Rural Publication
Rural Workers More Likely to Work Nontraditional Shifts
Workers in rural areas have historically worked at different times of the day compared to their counterparts in urban areas, including during less traditional work periods, such as in the early morning, afternoon, and evening hours. This brief presents a snapshot of the rural workforce around the clock.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Rural, Urban Publication
Rural Workers Would Benefit from Unemployment Insurance Modernization
Rural workers stand to benefit from the modernization of unemployment insurance (UI) to cover part-time workers, which is an opportunity for states under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Plan (ARRA). Rural workers are more likely to work part-time, and many states that do not provide UI benefits to part-time workers have higher than average proportions of rural residents.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Rural, Safety Net, Unemployment Publication
Rural Workers Would Benefit More Than Urban Workers from an Increase in the Federal Minimum Wage
While members of the U.S. Senate considered the first increase in minimum wage in a decade, the Carsey Institute released findings of a study showing that it would benefit rural, low-wage workers every bit as much, if not more, than workers in big cities.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Rural, Urban, Wages Publication
Rural Youth are More Likely to be Idle
Rural young adults, ages 18-24, are more likely to be idle not in school, the labor force, or the Armed Forces than their urban counterparts. Among rural high school dropouts and racial-ethnic minorities, rates of idleness are even more pronounced.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Education, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Senior Tax Breaks on the Move—but Are Seniors Actually Moving?
Every state in the United States with an income tax offers some kind of tax break to its older citizens. These breaks are often sizable, resulting in an elderly household owing substantially less in income taxes than a non-elderly household with the same income. In Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania, married elderly households can have incomes well over $100,000 and not owe any state income taxes at all. Such tax breaks come at considerable cost to state coffers, a cost that is almost certain to grow as the elderly population grows in both size and economic status. Yet there is little evidence that these tax breaks are providing states with any economic benefit, and the savings are skewed toward those in little need of public support. These tax breaks appear to be expanding. Since the beginning of 2017, legislators in at least thirteen states have proposed or established significant expansions: Laws eliminating all taxes on Social Security income have been proposed in Vermont, Montana, and Minnesota, with projected annual budget costs of $30 million, $75 million, and approximately $425 million, respectively. Laws that would go further and exempt all pension income have been proposed in Connecticut and Nebraska. In January, Arkansas began exempting all military pension income from taxation, and similar laws are being considered in at least six other states. After much debate last year, New Jersey enacted legislation doubling the $20,000 exemption on retirement income in 2017 and increasing it to $100,000 by 2020.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Demography, Seniors, Tax Publication
Seventy-eight Percent of Working Rural Families to Receive Full Making Work Pay Tax Credit
The Making Work Pay Tax Credit provides eligible U.S. workers with additional money in each paycheck throughout the year. The fact sheet shows that 78 percent of rural working families will receive the full amount of the credit, while an additional 10 percent of families will receive a partial credit due to low earnings or high earnings. These tax credits, along with the expansion to the Child Tax Credit, are an important financial boost to families in rural America, particularly low-income working families.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Family, Rural, Safety Net, Tax Publication
Share of Tax Filers Claiming EITC Increases Across States and Place Types Between 2007 and 2010
In this brief, Authors Beth Mattingly and Elizabeth Kneebone use Internal Revenue Service tax filing data to show that the share of tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) increased between 2007 and 2010, as did the size of the average credit claimed and the number of EITC filers benefitting from the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit (the Additional Child Tax Credit,
Vulnerable Families Research Program Safety Net, Tax Publication
Should I Say Something?
A growing body of research has documented the alarmingly high rates among high school youth of dating aggression, defined as physical, sexual, or psychological aggression that happens between current or former dating partners, and sexual aggression, defined as any unwanted sexual behavior, ranging from sexual contact to completed rape, that can occur between any individuals regardless of whether they are or have been in a relationship.1 Dating and sexual aggression often co-occur (for example, someone who perpetrates physical dating aggression is also more likely to perpetrate sexual aggression toward an acquaintance), and, since they share many of the same etiological risk factors, are often examined together in research and targeted concurrently in prevention programming.2 Research documents the deleterious consequences associated with dating and sexual aggression,3 and these consequences underscore the critical importance of developing and implementing evidence-based dating and sexual aggression prevention efforts for adolescents. One type of prevention effort that has been recognized as a critical component to dating and sexual aggression programming is bystander intervention education and training.4 Such programs help participants develop behaviors that aid in the prevention of dating and sexual aggression and assist in victims’ recovery from dating and sexual aggression experiences.5 In order to address bystander intervention in programming efforts, it is important to understand the factors that facilitate or hinder bystander intervention. However, there is little research focusing on dating and sexual aggression bystander intervention among high school youth. The current study examined this gap in the literature by administering surveys and conducting focus groups with 218 high school youth from three high schools in New England (one rural, two urban).
Vulnerable Families Research Program Health, Young Adults Publication
SNAP Use Increased Slightly in 2012
This brief uses data from the American Community Survey to examine rates of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) receipt in 2012, track changes since the onset of the recession, and monitor receipt by region and place type.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Family, Food Assistance, Health, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
Social Service Delivery in Two Rural Counties
When low-income residents struggle to make ends meet, non-profit social service agencies can help fill the gaps. In doing so, these agencies must find sufficient funding, retain qualified staff, and craft efficient service delivery mechanisms that are respectful of clients and communities. Some of the challenges that service providers encounter are exacerbated by rural characteristics, such as vast geographic distances and the lack of economies of scale. Yet in some ways rurality is beneficial, as small communities can facilitate community engagement and providers can engage natural supports in their service delivery work.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Low Income, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
Southeastern Kentuckians Remain Optimistic Through Great Recession: Growing Concerns about Sprawl, Housing, and Recreational Opportunities
In May and June of 2007, Carsey Institute researchers surveyed 1,000 randomly selected respondents from Kentucky’s Harlan and Letcher counties, and between November 2010 and January 2011, they returned to survey 1,020 different randomly selected respondents from the same counties. These two Kentucky counties provide a snapshot of perceptions of community and environmental change in a chronically poor rural place. This brief focuses on the questions asked in both surveys to identify area wide (Harlan and Letcher counties combined) changes since the Great Recession. The surveys reveal that the recession has exacerbated concern about many community-level problems including poverty, affordable housing, sprawl, and a lack of recreational opportunities. Southeastern Kentuckians’ views regarding how environmental resources should be used have also changed. As the demand for jobs has increased, Harlan and Letcher county residents are more likely to believe that natural resources should be used for economic development rather than conserved for the future. Optimism about the future is unchanged despite growing financial instability during the recession. Author Jessica Ulrich concludes that as local, state, and federal government program budgets are cut, and poverty and unemployment rates rise, southeastern Kentuckians will need to increasingly rely on the support of other community members. She adds, “If communities keep faith that they can work together to solve pressing problems and obtain the social, human, and economic resources that they desperately need, then perhaps Harlan and Letcher counties can begin to escape from the persistent poverty that has been plaguing them for decades.”
Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Economic Development, Housing, Poverty, Public Opinion Publication
State EITC Programs Provide Important Relief to Families in Need
The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the nation, offering tax credits to low- and moderate-earning families.1 The amount of EITC benefits varies by earnings and the number of dependent children in a family, with considerably more generous benefits going to families with children. In addition to the federal EITC, as of 2015, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia provided additional EITC dollars.2 Most state EITCs are generally structured such that they offer credits equal to a proportion of the federal EITC, varying from 3.5 percent in Louisiana to 40 percent in Washington, DC. This brief documents the estimated effects of state EITC benefits on rates of poverty in 2010–2014 using the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). First, we examine Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rates and average EITC benefits across states with a fully refundable EITC between 2010 and 2014, and estimate how much higher poverty rates would have been in the absence of the state EITC. Next, we analyze how trends in poverty and state EITC benefits vary by race, marital status, metropolitan status, and region among these states. Finally, we project hypothetical differences in poverty rates for non-EITC states had they adopted EITCs of various generosities over this same time period.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty, Safety Net, Tax Publication
Students in Rural Schools Have Limited Access to Advanced Mathematics Courses
This Carsey brief reveals that students in rural areas and small towns have less access to higher-level mathematics courses than students in urban settings, which results in serious educational consequences, including lower scores on assessment tests and fewer qualified students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) job pipelines.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Subprime and Predatory Lending in Rural America: Mortgage lending practices that can trap low-income rural people
This brief examines predatory mortgage loans and the harmful impact they have on rural homeowners and their communities. The report finds that minorities and low-income people are more likely to fall victim to higher-cost loans. The brief includes recommendations for policy changes at the state and federal levels, as well as advice on identifying and avoiding predatory loans.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Family, Low Income, Rural Publication
Substance Abuse in Rural and Small Town America
Alcohol abuse exceeds illicit drug abuse in rural America and is a serious problem among rural youth, as highlighted here. The report also confirms that the abuse of stimulants, including methamphetamine, is high among certain rural populations, particularly among the rural unemployed.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Drugs, Rural, Substance Abuse, Urban, Young Adults Publication