Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Child Poverty in Rural America

- from the desk of John Crabtree, Center for Rural Affairs,

A report on child poverty in rural America from the USDA Economic Research Service that I read last night has reminded me that the Center's work to identify, examine and work to address poverty in rural communities is as crucial now as ever. Therefore, I thought it was important to remember that work and the need for it. If you have any thoughts on this, I hope you will share them here. john

To view the USDA-ERS report, go to:

An exerpt from the report's introduction - Child poverty in 21st century America is higher (18 percent in 2003) than the rate for the general population (12.5 percent), as well as above the rates in most other industrialized countries. Child poverty is a significant social problem that negatively affects children’s development. Although rural child poverty rates declined in the 1990s, they remain higher than the rates for urban children (21 percent vs. 18 percent). In 2003, 2.7 million rural children were poor, representing 36 percent of the rural poor. Nonmetro children are more likely than metro children to receive food stamps and free or reduced-price school lunches, in part a reflection of higher nonmetro poverty. The geographic distribution of child poverty—heavily concentrated in the South—is important for targeting poverty reduction policies and program assistance such as child nutrition programs, food stamps, and health insurance coverage in rural areas.

USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) analyzes ongoing changes in rural areas and assesses Federal, State, and local strategies to enhance economic opportunity and quality of life for rural Americans. Following are the most current indicators of the demographic, social, and economic well-being of rural children for use in developing rural policies and programs to assist children and their families in rural areas.


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