Child Poverty High in Rural America

Released: 8/26/2008 2:45 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: University of New Hampshire
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Newswise — New data indicate that more than 13 million children are living in poverty, 22 percent of rural children and 25 percent of children living in central cities, according to a new report released by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. The report, based on U.S. Census Bureau data released today, finds that on average, rates of child poverty are persistently higher in rural parts of the country relative to suburban areas and share similar rates with many central cities.

"Because poverty is closely linked to undesirable outcomes in areas such as health, education, emotional welfare, and delinquency, we take child poverty seriously as a measure of children's well-being," says report author Sarah Savage, a research assistant at the Carsey Institute and Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of New Hampshire. The data are based on the official U.S. Office of Management and Budget poverty measure of $21,027 for a family of two adults and two children.

The Carsey report finds that in 17 states, particularly those in the South and Southwest, rural child poverty is higher than rates in both suburban and urban areas. In 2007, the rural child poverty rate in ranges from a low of just seven percent in Connecticut to a high of 35 percent in Mississippi. Other key findings include:

"¢ At the national level, the rural child poverty rate is nine percentage points higher than in suburban areas and approaches the rate in central cities (25 percent).
"¢ In 17 states, rural child poverty is higher than rates in both suburban and urban areas.
"¢ In Mississippi, rural poverty exceeds suburban poverty by 18 percentage points, followed by Arizona and South Dakota (15 percentage points), and Louisiana (14 percentage points).
"¢ Thirteen southern states all have rural child poverty rates above 25 percent in 2007, which reflects the pervasive child poverty problem in the rural South. This trend is consistent with 2005 data.

To download a copy of the report, go to http://www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/publications/FS_RuralChildPoverty_08.pdf.

The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire conducts research and analysis on the challenges facing rural families and communities in New Hampshire, New England, and the nation. The Carsey Institute sponsors independent, interdisciplinary research that documents trends and conditions affecting families and communities, providing valuable information and analysis to policymakers, practitioners, the media, and the general public. Through this work, the Carsey Institute contributes to public dialogue on policies that encourage social mobility and sustain healthy, equitable communities. The Carsey Institute was established in May 2002 with a generous gift from UNH alumna and noted television producer Marcy Carsey. Visit us online at http://carseyinstitute.unh.edu/.


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