Category: Publication

Resource Category Topic Type
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
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 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
Climate Change, Sea-Level Rise, and the Vulnerable Cultural Heritage of Coastal New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s ocean coastline, though small relative to that of other states, is a place where people have lived, worked, and died for thousands of years. It is home to numerous important cultural heritage sites,1 and its identity is tied in tangible and intangible ways to centuries of marine-based ways of life.2 Tourism to the region’s remnant historic heritage sites and cultural landscapes is a key factor in coastal New Hampshire’s strong demographic, social, and economic growth. Rockingham and Strafford, the state’s two coastal counties, accounted for $104.7 million, or well over a third (37.5 percent), of the state’s meal and room tax revenue in fiscal year 2014.3
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Climate Change, Conservation, Environment, New Hampshire, Rivers/Watersheds Publication
Climate Change: Partisanship, Understanding, and Public Opinion
In 2010, Carsey Institute researchers began including three new questions about climate change on a series of regional surveys. They asked how much people understand about the issue of global warming or climate change; whether they think that most scientists agree that climate change is happening now as a result of human activities; and what they believe personally about the topic. Survey results show that while large majorities agree that climate change is happening now, they split on whether this is attributed mainly to human or natural causes. Brief author Lawrence Hamilton concludes that most people gather information about climate change not directly from scientists but indirectly—through news media, political activists, acquaintances, and other non-science sources. Their understanding reflects not simply scientific knowledge, but rather the adoption of views promoted by political or opinion leaders they follow. While public beliefs about physical reality remain strikingly politicized, leading science organizations agree that human activities are now changing the Earth’s climate. Interestingly, the strong scientific agreement on this point contrasts with the partisan disagreement seen on all of the Carsey surveys.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Civic Attitudes, Climate Change, Politics and Elections, Public Opinion Publication
Climate-Change Views of New Hampshire Primary Voters
In this brief, author Lawrence Hamilton discusses the results of an April 2019 Granite State Poll conducted by the UNH Survey Center that asked 549 New Hampshire residents whether they planned to vote in the state’s 2020 presidential primary election and, if so, which candidate they favored. The survey also asked residents about their views on climate change.
New Hampshire Climate Change, Politics and Elections, Public Opinion Publication
Closing Racial-Ethnic Gaps in Poverty
Although the role of government programs in alleviating poverty is widely studied, far less attention is paid to how these programs may differentially impact people with different racial-ethnic identities. Given that poverty rates among non-Hispanic whites are significantly lower than among other groups, programs with disparate effects by race can either widen or decrease racial-ethnic gaps in the poverty rate.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Safety Net Publication
Community Strength and Economic Challenge: Civic Attitudes and Community Involvement in Rural America
Residents in rural areas that are rich in amenities report a positive outlook about their community strength and civic engagement, with nine out of ten saying they would work together to solve a community problem. However, residents in chronically poor rural communities are less likely to trust, get along with, and help their neighbors. Michele Dillon, professor of sociology at UNH and faculty advisor at the Carsey Institute, and Justin R. Young, a doctoral student in sociology, used data from the Community and Environment in Rural America (CERA) survey to highlight the variation in patterns of civic involvement across rural America.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Civic Attitudes, Community, Rural Publication
Comparing Teen Substance Use in Northern New Hampshire to Rural Use Nationwide
Using data administered in 2011 from the Carsey Institute’s Coös Youth Study and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, this brief compares teen substance use patterns in New Hampshire’s most rural county to patterns among rural youth nationwide.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Coös Youth Study, Health, New Hampshire, Young Adults Publication
Concentrated Poverty Increased in Both Rural and Urban Areas Since 2000, Reversing Declines in the 1990s
The number of nonmetropolitan counties with high poverty rates increased between the 2000 Decennial Census and 2011–2015 (hereafter 2013) American Community Survey (ACS), and so did the share of the rural population residing in these disadvantaged areas. Over this time period, the percentage of rural counties with poverty rates of 20 percent or more increased from a fifth to nearly one-third, and the share of the rural population living in these places nearly doubled to over 31 percent. Levels of concentrated poverty increased substantially both before and after the Great Recession in rural areas, while increases in urban areas occurred mainly during years affected by the economic downturn (Box 1). Increases in county-level poverty rates were also concentrated in rural areas with small cities, and the share of the population residing in high-poverty counties increased much more among the non-Hispanic white and black populations in rural areas than among the rural Hispanic population.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty, Rural, Urban Publication
Concentrated Rural Poverty and the Geography of Exclusion (Copub with Rural Realities)
One-half of rural poor are segregated in high-poverty areas, a new policy brief co-published by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire and Rural Realities. This brief highlights the challenges faced by America's rural poor, particularly as they are physically and socially isolated from middle-class communities that might offer economic opportunities.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty, Rural Publication
Conservative and Liberal Views of Science
Conservative distrust of scientists regarding climate change and evolution has been widely expressed in public pronouncements and surveys, contributing to impressions that conservatives are less likely to trust scientists in general. But what about other topics, where some liberals have expressed misgivings too? Nuclear power safety, vaccinations, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are three often-mentioned examples. For this report, five similarly worded survey questions were designed to test the hypothesis that, depending on the issue, liberals are just as likely to reject science as conservatives. The five questions were included along with many unrelated items in telephone surveys of over 1,000 New Hampshire residents. As expected, liberals were most likely and conservatives least likely to say that they trust scientists for information about climate change or evolution. Contrary to the topic-bias hypothesis, however, liberals also were most likely and conservatives least likely to trust scientists for information about vaccines, nuclear power safety, and GMOs. Liberal–conservative gaps on these questions ranged from 55 points (climate change) to 24 points (nuclear power), but always in the same direction. These results pose a challenge for some common explanations of political polarization in views about science.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Climate Change, New Hampshire, Politics and Elections, Public Opinion, Trust Publication
Conservative Media Consumers Less Likely to Wear Masks and Less Worried About COVID-19
In this brief, authors Lawrence Hamilton and Thomas Safford discuss the results of a new UNH Granite State Panel survey asking questions to a statewide poll of New Hampshire residents to learn about their perceptions and behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19, New Hampshire COVID-19, New Hampshire, Politics and Elections, Public Opinion Publication
Continuity and Change in Coos County Results from the 2010 North Country CERA Survey
This brief from Chris Colocousis and Justin Young uses the most recent North Country CERA survey to focus on change and continuity in Coos County between 2007 and 2010, and then makes comparisons of the present conditions across the three study counties. The authors examine such topics as community problems, environmental and economic concerns, and community cohesion and confidence in the local government. They report that Coos County residents remain highly concerned about the lack of economic opportunities in the region, and their concern about population decline has increased in recent years. Coos residents see the economic future of their communities primarily tied to both recreation and traditional forest-based industries, though they have become somewhat more polarized with respect to levels of support for economic development versus environmental protection. The authors conclude that challenges stemming from the economic restructuring of the past decade have been deepened by the most recent recession, and issues of limited economic opportunities, financial hardship, and population decline have become more pronounced. As the North Country moves into the future, one of its primary challenges will be working out a balance between what can sometimes be conflicting demands on the region’s substantial natural resources.
New Hampshire Community, Economic Development, Environment, New Hampshire, Public Opinion Publication