Category: Rural

Resource Category Topic Type
Demographic and Economic Characteristics of Immigrant and Native-Born Populations in Rural and Urban Places
In recent years, researchers have documented the changing demographics of rural areas, with a specific focus on changes in racial-ethnic composition and immigration patterns, particularly the increased migration of Hispanics to rural places. In spite of this attention to the changing demographics of rural America, surprisingly little is known about how rural immigrants compare to both their urban peers and native-born counterparts. In this brief we use American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates to document demographic and economic characteristics of the immigrant and native-born populations in the United States by metropolitan status. We focus on a wide range of demographic and economic indicators that relate to immigrants’ ability to assimilate and thrive in rural America. Our analysis finds that rural immigrants are different than their rural native-born and urban immigrant counterparts on a host of demographic characteristics, including age, education, and family structure. Rural immigrants also differ from urban immigrants with regard to when they arrived in the United States and where from. In terms of economic characteristics, rural immigrants have relatively low family income and high poverty rates, even among those currently working and those who work full time.
Demography Demography, Poverty, Race, Rural, Urban Publication
Demographic Trends in Rural and Small Town America
This report examines the changing demographics of rural America and shows that the makeup of rural America is changing as certain regions grow with the migration of retirees and baby boomers into amenity-rich areas. At the same time, other places face economic uncertainty as younger residents continue to leave in search of more opportunities. Racial and ethnic diversity, meanwhile, continues to increase.
Demography Demography, Migration, Race, Rural, Seniors, Young Adults Publication
Education in Chronically Poor Rural Areas Lags Across Generations
As part of the Community and Environment in Rural America (CERA) initiative, the Carsey Institute has been investigating broad trends between rural community types, including the education level of residents and their parents. Since 2007, Carsey researchers have conducted over 17,000 telephone surveys with randomly selected adult Americans from twelve diverse rural locations to ask about both their own and their parents’ educational attainment, as well as their perceptions of school quality in their communities. Survey results conclude that educational achievement varies significantly by type of place in rural America. In chronically poor rural areas, 45 percent of residents have completed only high school or less, compared with 22 to 33 percent in amenity-rich, amenity-transition, and declining resource-dependent rural areas. Although people from all types of rural communities generally have more education than their parents, those in chronically poor rural areas still have relatively low education levels — a disadvantage that persists across generations. This brief highlights the need to invest in the educational systems of chronically poor rural areas where generations of underinvestment have contributed to persistent poverty.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Education, Public Opinion, Rural Publication
EITC is Vital for Working-Poor Families in Rural America
In the 2004 tax year, tax filers claimed almost $40 billion through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), making the EITC one of the largest federal programs that provides cash supports to low-income working families in the United States. The EITC is especially important to rural families throughout the United States. Among poor and near-poor families, those in rural areas are more likely to be working, and they are more likely to be working in low-wage jobs.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net, Tax Publication
Employment Rates Higher Among Rural Mothers Than Urban Mothers
As men's jobs in traditional rural industries, such as agriculture, natural resource extraction, and manufacturing disappear due to restructuring of rural labor markets, the survival of the family increasingly depends on women's waged labor. Rural mothers with children under age 6 have higher employment rates than their urban counterparts but have higher poverty rates, lower wages, and lower family income, placing rural mothers and their children in a more economically vulnerable situation than urban mothers.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Employment, Family, Rural, Urban, Women Publication
Employment, Poverty, and Public Assistance in the Rural United States
When asked to describe the rural United States, people usually mention serene and sprawling farmlands, rolling hills, open spaces, and safe, idyllic communities in which to raise children.1 Although there are a lot of acres in rural America, just 6 percent of rural workers depend on agriculture. Twenty-two percent depend on manufacturing,2 and the rest work in retail, sales, health care, construction, transportation, banking, services, tourist industries, and government—similar to their counterparts in cities and suburbs.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Poverty, Rural Publication
Environmental, Economic, and Social Changes in Rural America Visible in Survey Data and Satellite Images
This brief focuses on the changing landscapes of different types of rural America where social, economic, and ecological changes are occurring over large areas: the Northern Forest, Central Appalachia, and the Pacific Northwest. These three study sites embody varying historical reliance on land and natural resources and represent very different socioeconomic dynamics. Their common and unique challenges are explored, along with the far-reaching implications of land-cover change in their areas. Data used includes both telephone surveys and satellite imagery to illustrate the unique changes seen in rural America in recent years. (Please note that it is best to print this brief in color.)
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Environment, Forests, Rural Publication
Family-Friendly Policies for Rural Working Mothers
For working parents, family friendly work policies like paid sick days, flexible time, or medical insurance can reduce work-family conflict and lead to less absenteeism and higher productivity. Working parents in rural America, however, have less access to these policies than their urban counterparts.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Family, Rural, Urban, Women Publication
Federal Child Nutrition Programs are Important to Rural Households
This brief, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, examines how rural families use four of the major federal child nutrition programs. It finds that 29 percent of rural families with children participate but that there are barriers to these nutrition programs, such as the lack of public transportation and high operating costs for rural schools and child care programs.
Evaluation, Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Food Assistance, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net Publication
Food Stamp and School Lunch Programs Alleviate Food Insecurity in Rural America
The Food Stamp and the National School Lunch Programs play a vital role in helping poor, rural Americans obtain a more nutritious diet and alleviate food insecurity and hunger. This fact sheet looks at the extent to which rural America depends on these programs and describes characteristics of beneficiaries of these federal nutrition assistance programs.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Food Assistance, Rural, Safety Net, Young Adults Publication
Forgotten Fifth: Child Poverty in Rural America, The
One in five poor children in this country lives in a rural area. Yet this group of vulnerable young Americans is seldom on the minds of the public or policy makers when they talk about child poverty in the United States. This report highlights child poverty statistics in rural America and compares them to urban areas, discussing how they are affected by family, education, employment, and the government.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Forty-three Percent of Eligible Rural Families Can Claim a Larger Credit with EITC Expansion
This policy brief on the changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit in the ARRA also shows that families with three or more children and married couples will receive an increased refund under these new EITC rules for tax years 2009 and 2010. Many families in urban and suburban communities will also see increased benefits under these new provisions.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Family, Rural, Safety Net, Tax Publication
How Far Would You Drive for Fresh Food? How Some Rural New Hampshire Residents Navigate a Dismal Food Landscape
Lack of access to food stores with healthy and affordable food is one of the central obstacles to eradicating hunger in America. Approximately 23.5 million Americans live more than a mile from a supermarket, which makes accessing healthy food more challenging. Among low income populations, especially those with young children and limited transportation, this distance can severely limit access to affordable and healthy foods. This brief reports the challenges that eighteen rural New Hampshire mothers face to secure healthy, affordable, and quality foods and suggests ways to help address these challenges.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Family, Food Assistance, Low Income, New Hampshire, Rural, Safety Net Publication
How Yoopers See the Future of their Communities: Why Residents Leave or Stay in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
According to a Community and Environment in Rural America survey, Michigan's Upper Peninsula residents, often called "Yoopers," said that ties to community and the area's natural beauty were significant factors for those who planned on staying in this rural area, which comprises about a third of Michigan's land mass but only 4 percent of its population. Those planning on leaving cited employment opportunities and energy costs as the most important factors in their decision.
Demography Community, Demography, Environment, Public Opinion, Rural Publication
Limited Access to AP Courses for Students in Smaller and More Isolated Rural School Districts
This brief assesses trends in access to, enrollment in, and success in Advanced Placement (AP) coursework in relation to school district poverty, racial composition, and urbanicity. It uses data merged from the 2011–2012 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), the 2012 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE), and the 2010 Decennial U.S. Census. Authors Douglas Gagnon and Marybeth Mattingly report that nearly one-half (47.2 percent) of rural districts have no secondary students enrolled in AP courses, compared with only 20.1 percent of town, 5.4 percent of suburban, and 2.6 percent of urban districts. Remote rural districts with small populations are nearly ten times less likely to offer access to AP courses than are larger rural districts on the fringe of urbanized areas. Even in districts that have some access to AP coursework, the proportion of students enrolled in an AP course in urban and suburban districts is roughly double that in town and rural districts. Students in more affluent districts have higher success rates than those in less affluent districts, regardless of place type.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Education, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Low-Skill Workers in Rural America Face Permanent Job Loss
Global economic competition and other factors have cost rural America 1.5 million jobs in the past six years. This brief analyzes job displacement figures from around the country between 1997 and 2003. The loss of rural jobs was particularly large in the manufacturing sector, and the rate of loss was higher in the rural Northeast than in the rest of rural America. The key causes fueling the trend have been the push for cost savings through automation and cheaper labor overseas.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Low Income, Rural Publication
Mathematics Achievement Gaps Between Suburban Students and Their Rural and Urban Peers Increase Over Time
In this brief, authors Suzanne Graham and Lauren Provost examine whether attending a school in a rural, urban, or suburban community is related to children’s mathematics achievement in kindergarten, and whether increases in mathematics achievement between kindergarten and eighth grade differ for children in rural, urban, and suburban schools.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Rural, Urban Publication
Measures and Methods: Four Tenets for Rural Economic Development in the New Economy
Rural communities working to find strategies for success in today's economy need to rethink the tools they are using. Brown-Graham is the executive director of the Institute for Emerging Issues and a policy fellow at the Carsey Institute. William Lambe is the associate director at the Community and Economic Development Program at the School of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community, Community Development, Economic Development, Rural Publication
Middle-Skill Jobs Remain More Common Among Rural Workers
This issue brief uses data from the Current Population Survey collected from 2003 to 2012 to assess trends in employment in middle-skill jobs and the Great Recession’s impact on middle-skill workers, with particular attention paid to differences between those in rural and urban places.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Rural, Urban Publication
More Poor Kids in More Poor Places: Children Increasingly Live Where Poverty Persists
The authors of this brief examine child poverty rates using decennial census data from 1980, 1990, and 2000, as well as American Community Survey five-year estimates between 2005 and 2009, to identify those counties where child poverty has persisted. They find persistent child poverty in nearly twice as many U.S. counties as those that report high persistent poverty across all age groups. In all, 342 counties have experienced persistently high levels of poverty across all age groups during the past twenty-nine years. In contrast, more than 700 counties experienced persistent child poverty over the same period. Rural areas are disproportionately likely to have persistent high child poverty; 81 percent of counties with persistent child poverty are nonmetropolitan while only 65 percent of all U.S. counties are nonmetropolitan. Overall, 26 percent of rural children reside in counties whose poverty rates have been persistently high. This compares with 12 percent of urban children. Counties with persistent child poverty cluster in Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, other areas of the Southeast, parts of the Southwest, and in the Great Plains. The authors comment that the overwhelming urban focus of welfare programs means policymakers often overlook needy families in rural areas. In addition to the high unemployment and low education levels that they document in the brief, the physical and social isolation associated with rural poverty create problems different from those in densely settled urban areas. They conclude that the reductions in government spending likely to result from the Great Recession, coupled with two decades of the devolution of policymaking responsibility from the federal to the state level (and occasionally to municipal governments), may have significant implications for children and fragile families in these persistently poor rural counties.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net, Urban Publication