Category: Publication

Resource Category Topic Type
Challenge and Hope in the North Country
Hit hard by the national decline in natural-resource and manufacturing jobs, North Country communities in northern New Hampshire and bordering areas of Maine and Vermont (Figure 1) continue to face challenges in restructuring their economies.1 A 2008 study classified Coös County, New Hampshire, and Oxford County, Maine, as “amenity/decline” regions, a common pattern in rural America where historically resource-dependent places experience decline in their traditional industries, even while natural amenities present new opportunities for growth in areas such as tourism or amenity-based in-migration. Complicating this transition, there is often out-migration of young adults seeking jobs and financial stability elsewhere, as new industries in rural areas tend toward seasonal employment or require different kinds of skills.2 In this brief, we report on a 2017 survey that asked North Country residents about their perceptions, hopes, and concerns regarding this region. Many of the same questions had been asked on earlier surveys in 2007 and 2010, providing a unique comparative perspective on what has changed or stayed much the same.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Community, Economic Development, Migration, New Hampshire, Public Opinion, Rural, Unemployment Publication
Challenges in Serving Rural American Children through the Summer Food Service Program
When the school year ends, many low-income children rely on the USDA's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to supplement their diet. But less than one-third of SFSP sites are located in rural communities and rural children participate at a lower rate than those in more urban areas.
Socioeconomic Indicators and Datasets, Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Food Assistance, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net Publication
Changes in New Hampshire’s Republican Party: Evolving Footprint in Presidential Politics, 1960-2008
This brief describes a series of dramatic changes in New Hampshire's political landscape over the past four decades. Examining presidential elections from 1960 to 2008, author Dante Scala uncovers a series of significant shifts in New Hampshire's political geography at the county level.
New Hampshire New Hampshire, Politics and Elections Publication
Changing Church in the South: Religion and Politics in Elba, Alabama
Conventional wisdom and statistical evidence show Southerners to be considerably more conservative on social issues like gay marriage and abortion than others in the U.S. But in shifting one's vantage point from the aerial view of statistics to the streets of Elba, Alabama, the relationships among faith, politics and social values become far more nuanced and dynamic. In this Southern Baptist stronghold, the roles and expectations of women are changing, non-Baptists are moving here and looking for a church home, and a new faith community has emerged, disaffected with the established orthodoxy. While the Southern Baptist Convention dominates the rural South and is likely to shape political thinking here in the near future, recent experience in Elba suggests that within “the solid South” there are striations of questioning and even defiance.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Politics and Elections, Religion Publication
Child Care Costs Exceed 10 Percent of Family Income for One in Four Families
Access to quality, affordable child care is critical for American working families, and it is a major focus of efforts to bring about more family-friendly workplaces. In this brief, we analyze families’ child care expenses and identify, among families with young children (under age 6) who pay for child care, the share that are “cost burdened,” defined here as spending more than 10 percent of their gross income on child care. Using data from the 2012–2016 Current Population Survey, we present our findings by number of children; age of youngest child; parental characteristics; family income measures; and U.S. region, metropolitan status, and state. Unless otherwise noted, families include only those with children under age 6 who had any child care costs in the previous year.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Community Development Finance, Family Publication
Child Care Expenses Make Middle-Class Incomes Hard to Reach
Most Americans believe that through hard work and saving they can secure an economically sound, middle-class lifestyle.1 But for many working families, the high price of child care makes this goal extremely challenging.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Family Publication
Child Care Expenses Push Many Families Into Poverty
How often are low-income families pushed into poverty by their child care expenses? In this fact sheet, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to assess the extent to which child care expenses are pushing families with young children into poverty. Nearly one-third (30.4 percent) of families with young children are poor. To fall under the SPM poverty line means that a family’s income would be less than $26,000 a year on average, with variations by family composition and geographic location. Among poor families with young children, 12.3 percent incur child care expenses according to our analyses of the SPM. For families earning this little income, child care expense can be a burden. Of those who pay for child care, nearly one in ten (9.4 percent) are poor (Figure 1). Roughly one third of these poor families are pushed into poverty by child care expenses. This represents an estimated 207,000 families.1 Among families with young children who pay for child care, those with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with black or Hispanic household heads, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time are most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses. Notably, these are also the families that tend to have the highest rates of poverty.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Poverty Publication
Child Care Subsidies Critical for Low-Income Families Amid Rising Child Care Expenses
The high cost of child care is a barrier to employment among low-income families with young children. Child care subsidies are designed to support both parental employment and child development by lowering the cost of child care and making high-quality child care affordable to low-income families.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Poverty Publication
Child Poverty Declines Slightly in 2018 to 18 Percent
In this data snapshot, author Jessica Carson reports that according to analyses of new American Community Survey data released today, nearly one-in-five American children were poor in 2018. While child poverty has finally returned to pre-recession rates, the 0.4 percentage point decline since 2017 continues the trend of incremental decreases in child poverty since the post-recession peak in 2012.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty Publication
Child Poverty High in Rural America
On August 28, 2007, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey show that 22 percent of rural children are living in poverty, up from 19 percent in 2000. On average, rates are highest in the nonmetropolitan South (27 percent) and have climbed the most in the nonmetropolitan Midwest (by 3.9 percentage points).
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural Publication
Child Poverty Higher and More Persistent in Rural America
The negative consequences of growing up in a poor family are well known. Poor children are less likely to have timely immunizations, have lower academic achievement, are generally less engaged in school activities, and face higher delinquency rates in adolescent years.1 Each of these has adverse impacts on their health, earnings, and family status in adulthood. Less understood is how the experience of poverty can differ depending on the community context. Being poor in a relatively well-off community with good infrastructure and schools is different from being poor in a place where poverty rates have been high for generations, where economic investment in schools and infrastructure is negligible, and where pathways to success are few.2 The hurdles are even higher in rural areas, where low population density, physical isolation, and the broad spatial distribution of the poor make service delivery and exposure to innovative programs more challenging. This brief looks at both the incidence of high child poverty (20 percent or greater) over the past three decades and at the places where such high child poverty has persisted for all of those decades (see Box 1 for definitions of high and persistent child poverty). Our analysis documents both that the incidence of high child poverty is growing nationwide and that rural America includes a disproportionate share of children living in counties characterized as having persistent high child poverty.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural Publication
Child Poverty in Rural America: New Data Shows Increases in 41 States
A study by the Carsey Institute, based on U.S. Census Bureau data, found that in forty-one states, a higher percentage of rural children live in poverty than did in 2000. While the national poverty level in 2006 was relatively stagnant compared to 2005's poverty level, the situation is clearly becoming worse for rural kids.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Low Income, Poverty, Rural Publication
Child Protective Services May Link Families to Needed Income Supports
The adverse effects of poverty on child and adolescent development are well documented and have been of interest to policy makers for several decades.1 Childhood poverty has a number of lasting impacts, including negative educational and cognitive outcomes, social and emotional behavior problems, poor adult economic outcomes, and health problems.2 For some children, these challenges are coupled with other family stressors including child maltreatment: children in poor families are approximately five times more likely to experience maltreatment than children in non-poor families.3 A number of public safety-net programs exist to help improve the economic well-being of vulnerable children,4 but little is known about the extent to which families with a child maltreatment report receive these services over time. In this brief, we examine the incidence of receiving four types of income support both immediately after the child maltreatment report and eighteen months following. Receipt of benefits immediately after the making of a report may suggest that families were connected to support services prior to their engagement with child protective services (CPS); receiving them only later may suggest the influence of the CPS engagement on support service use. The income supports analyzed include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); housing assistance; and the Social Security disability support. We also examine whether there are differences in the use of these income supports across rural and urban settings.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Family, Food Assistance, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
Child Tax Credit Expansion Increases Number of Families Eligible for a Refund
The analysis shows that more than 500,000 rural families, or almost 9 percent of rural families, will become newly eligible for the Child Tax Credit under the expansion included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Within these families are an estimated 900,000 rural children. The proportion of urban families benefiting from the expanded Child Tax Credit is slightly lower than in rural areas, but only 5 percent of suburban families are newly eligible for the credit.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Employment, Rural, Safety Net, Tax, Urban Publication
Childcare Remains Out of Reach for Millions in 2021, Leading to Disproportionate Job Losses for Black, Hispanic, and Low-Income Families
Using data from the late summer through the fall of 2021, this brief documents recent racial and income disparities in reports of inadequate access to childcare and identifies the employment-related consequences of these shortages.
Vulnerable Families Research Program African Americans, Child Care, Children, COVID-19, Employment, Family, Hispanics, Low Income, Race, Unemployment Publication
Children in Central Cities and Rural Communities Experience High Rates of Poverty
New U.S. Census Bureau data released in August highlight increasing similarities of poverty rates between children in urban and rural communities. This common indicator of child well-being is closely linked to undesirable outcomes in areas such as health, education, emotional welfare, and delinquency.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural, Urban Publication
Children's Health Insurance in New Hampshire: An Analysis of New Hampshire Healthy Kids
New Hampshire has been successful in achieving one of the lowest uninsurance rates for children in the country - 6 percent in 2005 (U.S. Census Bureau). The extent to which New Hampshire Healthy Kids has contributed to the state's success in achieving this low rate is the focus of this brief.
Evaluation, New Hampshire Children, Health, Health Insurance, New Hampshire, Safety Net Publication
Civil Protective Orders Effective in Stopping or Reducing Partner Violence
Civil protective orders are a low cost, effective solution in either stopping or significantly reducing partner violence for women. While all women benefit from civil protective orders, this brief finds there are greater obstacles to enforcement in rural places, which result in less benefit for rural than urban women. The authors suggest that policies and services should be tailored to address community-specific barriers and differences such as hours of access, time it takes to obtain or serve an order, and access to information about the process.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Health, Rural, Urban, Women Publication
Clean Energy Project Development for Low-Income Communities
Scaling clean energy in low-income communities through solar and deep efficiency retrofits presents financing challenges, but that is only part of the problem. Drawing on research conducted by the Carsey School’s Center for Impact Finance, this white paper outlines a road map depicting the ecosystem needed to deliver clean energy projects to underserved communities.
Center for Impact Finance Community Development Finance, Energy, Environment, Infrastructure, Low Income Publication
Clean Water for Less
Rising populations and increased development in New Hampshire coastal communities have led to a decline in water quality in the Great Bay Estuary. Responding effectively and affordably to new federal permit requirements for treating and discharging stormwater and wastewater will require innovative solutions from communities in the area. In March 2015, the Water Integration for Squamscott–Exeter (WISE) project completed an integrated planning framework through which the coastal communities of Exeter, Stratham, and Newfields could more affordably manage permits for wastewater and stormwater. However, meeting maximum goals for nitrogen reduction will require collaboration and commitment from all municipalities in the watershed, whether regulated under the Clean Water Act or not. Introduction The New Hampshire Great Bay Estuary and portions of the tidal rivers that flow into it have been negatively impacted by human development. The Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership has identified cautionary or negative conditions or trends in fifteen of twenty-two indicators of ecosystem health.1 In 2009 many parts of the estuary were listed as “impaired” by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) on measures such as nitrogen over-enrichment. Though nitrogen is naturally present in estuarine water, excess amounts support algae growth, decrease oxygen, and ultimately damage aquatic species. Permits now issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates discharges to surface water, require nitrogen controls as low as 3 milligrams per liter (mg/l)—the lowest technically feasible level—on effluent from wastewater treatment plants.2 Municipalities, EPA regulators, and community stakeholders are now discussing strategies that would allow communities flexibility to integrate permit requirements between wastewater and stormwater, and/or combine requirements among multiple permit holders in order to devise control options that might be more cost-effective.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Environment, New Hampshire Publication