Category: Vulnerable Families Research Program

Resource Category Topic Type
The Poverty-Reducing Effect of Five Key Government Programs in Rural and Urban America
Federal programs are critical for helping those with low incomes make ends meet. But not all such programs are equally effective at reducing poverty, nor do they benefit all of those in poverty uniformly.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Safety Net Publication
The State of Working Vermont 2006
Vermont enjoys higher-than-average workforce participation rates and the lowest unemployment in New England, but the state's wage levels remain well below regional standards and the workforce is aging, finds this issue brief prepared by the Carsey Institute in partnership with the Public Assets Institute of Vermont. The brief highlights trends related to the economic and labor force characteristics of Vermont's workers.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, New England, Seniors, Wages Publication
The Unequal Distribution of Child Poverty: Highest Rates among Young Blacks and Children of Single Mothers in Rural America
Measuring by race, place, and family, this brief highlights poverty rates for two rural groups--young black children and children of single mothers--who each face rates around 50%.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural Publication
The Unmet Need for Care
Many older adults need care but do not receive it. Often frail from chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, or arthritis, some need help bathing, dressing, or eating, while others need help taking medications, shopping for groceries, or preparing food. Although many older adults receive help from children, spouses, neighbors, or paid home health care providers, others have few people to whom to turn in times of need. A recent study described Monica, an older woman who lives alone and suffers from decreased mobility, painful arthritis, and fatigue. She says: “Because of my breathlessness, I can’t walk any great distances. I’m slower these days. I’ve got a walking stick now but it’s hard to manage a walking stick sometimes. It’s difficult getting groceries into my house, carrying the groceries up the stairs—I have to make several trips. I can’t carry too many at a time now. But I haven’t really got anybody that I could ring up and ask them to come. That’s where perhaps I feel isolated.”1 Bette, a married woman who cares for herself and her increasingly disabled husband, experienced acute back pain over a recent long weekend, and spent days waiting for an appointment with her primary care physician so that she did not have to go to the emergency room and leave her husband alone. She says: “I was writing something and the phone rang and I tried to get off the chair and I couldn’t. The pain was excruciating and I couldn’t get to the phone. I couldn’t get off the chair. We couldn’t get medical attention unless I went to the hospital. It was the May Day long weekend.” Bette spent the entire three days in pain.2
Vulnerable Families Research Program Disability, Health, Seniors Publication
The USDA Summer Food Service Program in Coös County, New Hampshire
In this report, author Jean Bessette examines the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) operating in 2017 in four communities in Coös County, New Hampshire. She reports that the SFSP provides benefits to Coös County on multiple levels. For children, it ensures the availability of nutritious meals in the summer when school meal programs are not operating; for parents, it helps to alleviate pressure on food budgets; and for communities, it helps to ameliorate the impacts of poverty and lack of economic growth and development. Successful strategies to increase participation in summer food programs include providing bus services to transport children to sites and leveraging non-federal funding to provide meals for adults, thereby increasing the participation of children and youth. Sponsors in Coös County report that the requirements of summer food programs can be frustrating at times. For example, programs are not allowed to send leftover food home with children, and the paperwork can be burdensome. In some cases, program staff were confused or uncertain about program rules, such as procedures for handling leftover meals and snacks. Bessette concludes that expanding and funding more summer food sites and exploring and implementing other innovative strategies to provide food to children in the summer is vital in order to ensure that children grow and thrive.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Health Publication
Three in Ten Rural and Urban Medicaid Recipients Affected by Potential Work Requirements
The Affordable Care Act in 2010 gave states the option to expand Medicaid access to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Thus more able-bodied and working adults have become eligible for Medicaid. In addition, several states have petitioned the federal government to have the option to enforce work requirements for those receiving Medicaid in their state.1 Specific waiver requests vary by state, but could have broad implications for Medicaid recipients across the nation, and typically include a requirement of able-bodied, adult Medicaid recipients to complete a certain number of hours spent working, or in some kind of other approved activity, like job training or looking for work. Children under age 19, pregnant or recently postpartum women, people with disabilities, and sole caretakers of young children are typically excluded from these proposed work requirements.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty, Rural, Safety Net, Urban Publication
Total Children Covered by Health Insurance Increased in 2009
This brief uses data collected in 2008 and 2009 from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) to examine changes in overall insurance coverage rates, as well as changes in types of coverage, and differences by region, state, and place type. The data show that together with new and more inclusive parameters for children's health insurance coverage, rates of children's health insurance have grown during the final year of the recession. Authors Jessica Bean and Michael Staley of the Carsey Institute discuss the complex factors contributing to the shift from private to public health insurance among children. The authors conclude that, because those who have health insurance are healthier overall and, more importantly, because healthy children are more likely to become healthy adults, focusing on covering eligible children should remain at the forefront of the nation's agenda.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health Insurance Publication
Toward a More Equal Footing
Policy makers and advocates nationwide recognize that funding for early childhood education is a crucial investment in the future. Critical foundational development occurs before age 5, and research consistently shows that high-quality early education for children leads to higher future educational attainment and lower likelihood of crime,1 and yields a return on investment of 7 to 13 percent.2 Yet accessing affordable, quality early childhood education and care is a challenge for families nationwide. More than a quarter of families with young children are burdened by child care costs,3and the availability and quality of child care and education are highly variable across states.4 One program that connects the most economically vulnerable families with quality early childhood programming is Early Head Start (EHS). Subject to rigorous quality and staffing standards,5 implemented among the youngest children (prenatally through age 2), and delivered via a two-generation approach, EHS is a significant opportunity for providing quality care and education to a population that might otherwise struggle to access it. This brief explores the characteristics of EHS in Maine, compares them to the national landscape, and connects these findings to a discussion of the federal and state policy climates.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Fertility, Poverty Publication
U.S. Rural Soldiers Account for a Disproportionately High Share of Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan
A study by the Carsey Institute found that among U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who are from rural America are dying at a higher rate than those soldiers who are from cities and suburbs. According to U.S. Department of Defense records, rural youth enlist in the military at a higher rate than urban and suburban youth and in all but eight states, soldiers from rural areas make up a disproportionately high share of the casualties.
Demography, Vulnerable Families Research Program Mortality, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Underemployment in Urban and Rural America, 2005-2012
Author Justin Young reports that underemployment (or involuntary part-time work) rates doubled during the second year of the recession, reaching roughly 6.5 percent in 2009. This increase was equally steep in both rural and urban places. By March of 2012, underemployment was slightly lower in rural places (4.8 percent) compared to urban places (5.3 percent).
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Income, Rural, Urban Publication
Understanding Child Abuse in Rural and Urban America: Risk Factors and Maltreatment Substantiation
Using a large national sample of child maltreatment reports, this brief compares the outcomes of child maltreatment cases in rural versus urban places and identifies the characteristics associated with substantiation. Child abuse cases substantiated in rural and urban areas share many caregiver risk factors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, and many family stressors.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health, Rural, Urban Publication
Understanding Connections Between Rural Communities and Family Well-Being: A Study of Hampton, Iowa
In this report, author Cynthia Needles Fletcher explores the role of "place" in shaping rural residents'-and in particular low-income residents'-futures. The analysis draws from interviews with residents and community key informants in Hampton, Iowa in an original study in 1997 and again in 2012-13.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Demography, Family, Health Publication
Understanding Very High Rates of Young Child Poverty in the South
It is widely known that the South is home to some of the places with the highest rates of child poverty. To address the many challenges poor families face there, policy makers and community leaders need to understand the complex factors that converge in this region of the United States. This brief presents an analysis of national and state-by-state data to help readers understand high child poverty in the South.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Family, Poverty Publication
Unemployment in the Great Recession: Single Parents and Men Hit Hard
This brief discusses the sweeping impact the Great Recession has had on Americans, particularly men, single parents, young adults, and people with less education. Using data from the 2007 and 2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, the authors report that unemployment is highest among men and among unmarried adults, regardless of place or parenting status. Although this was also true before the recession, gaps between men and women, and the unmarried and married, have widened considerably during the recession. Also during the Great Recession, unemployment rose more in central cities and suburban places than in rural places, perhaps because rural unemployment was already high prior to the start of the recession. The authors discuss the need to provide unemployment benefits for individuals experiencing long-term unemployment, and they highlight the importance of programs such as the TANF emergency fund and the Workforce Investment Act. The brief examine changes in unemployment patterns by sex, age, education, race and ethnicity, marital status, and parental status, paying particular attention to differences by place of residence.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Poverty, Unemployment Publication
Unemployment Insurance: A Safety Net for Victims of Intimate Partner Violence and Their Children
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that over 5 million intimate partner assaults are perpetrated against women each year, and they lose more than 8 million days of work annually. Expanding Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to victims of domestic violence is one mechanism for supporting women as they seek to escape the violence in their lives.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Health, Safety Net, Unemployment, Women Publication
Urban and Rural Children Experience Similar Rates of Low-Income and Poverty
Data in this brief shows that the percentages of children living in low-income areas and poverty over the past fifteen years in rural and urban America are converging.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Low Income, Poverty, Rural, Urban Publication
Utilization of Long-Term Care by an Aging Population
The aging of the U.S. population is an ongoing trend. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050 one in every five Americans will be over 65,1 and that by 2060 the over-65 population will have doubled in absolute size and the over-85 population will have tripled.2 Life expectancy of a 65-year-old in 2014 compared to 1980 was 3.9 years longer for a man and 4.3 years longer for a woman.3
Vulnerable Families Research Program Disability, Family, Health, Seniors Publication
Values and Religion in Rural America: Attitudes Toward Abortion and Same-Sex Relations
The rural vote is critical, but how do rural voters' views on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and religion influence elections? This brief compares rural and urban views on these divisive issues and examines how much rural opinions vary within rural regions of the country.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Politics and Elections, Religion, Rural Publication
Variation Found in Rates of Restraint and Seclusion Among Students With a Disability
The restraint and seclusion of individuals—practices usually associated with highly restrictive environments—are extreme responses to student behavior used in some public schools. In this brief, authors Douglas Gagnon, Marybeth Mattingly, and Vincent Connelly report that restraint and seclusion are used much more frequently on students with a disability than on students without a disability.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Health Publication
Wanting More but Working Less: Involuntary Part-Time Employment and Economic Vulnerability
Using data from the Current Population Survey, a national survey of U.S. households, this brief outlines a strong association between involuntary part-time employment and economic vulnerability. Author Rebecca Glauber reports that the involuntary part-time employment rate more than doubled between 2007 and 2012.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Poverty Publication