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Child poverty in rural America

More than one in four rural children lived in a family with income below the official poverty line in 2013, compared to one in five in 1999. Possible reasons for this rise in rural child poverty include changes in family composition, educational attainment, labor markets, and changes to social welfare policies. The social welfare system in the United States, comprising the full array of income transfers, tax credits, and other benefits available to those in need, was designed to offset economic hardship. While researchers have thoroughly documented the changing nature of the social welfare system including how it responded to the Great Recession, most of this work has not examined differences between rural and urban areas. In particular, relatively little is known about how the social welfare system functions for rural families with children. With the study described in this article, we seek to add to this knowledge by assessing whether current social welfare programs are effectively protecting rural families with children from poverty.


Child Poverty, Children, Economic Support, Employment, Family & Partnering, Family Structure, Financial Security, Labor Market, Means-Tested Programs, Place, Place General, Poverty Measurement, Social Insurance Programs, U.S. Poverty Measures


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