The lack of jobs directly impacted the financial stability of many of those rural households, and ERS says, “The recession’s impact was reflected in the U.S. poverty rate, which increased to 14.3 percent in 2009, the highest rate since 1994. Between 2008 and 2009, the poverty rate in nonmetro areas grew by 1.5 percentage points, from 15.1 to 16.6 percent.” The poverty rate for children in rural counties increased by 2% to 23.5%, compared to the 20% in metropolitan areas.
One bright spot was the trend that indicates more residents of rural areas are getting a high school education, which points to greater opportunities for employment and overall well-being. There are still more in rural areas without a diploma, but the gap is closing.
Population growth is also slower in rural areas, despite an outward migration from urban centers. While metropolitan counties saw a nearly 11% population growth in the past decade, rural counties only grew by 4.5%.
What is the situation in your county?
In rural counties unemployment remains more serious than in urban areas, and male jobs such as construction and manufacturing, which are second jobs for many farmers, are not expanding. In fact, health care and education jobs, which attract many farm wives, are increasing in number. While rural areas are seeing softer job growth than urban areas, the poverty rate is increasing as well in rural areas, and now one child in four in a rural county lives with a family below the poverty rate.
Source: Stu Ellis, FarmgateBlog.com