Publications

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  • "Digital Divide" Not to Blame for Rural Earnings Shortfall

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2003

    Workers who use computers on the job generally receive higher wages, suggesting that some workers without computer skills or access to computer technology may be disadvantaged. On-the-job computer use is less common in nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) areas than in metro areas, and wages for nonmetro, or rural, workers are generally lower. But does lower computer use explain the metro-nonmetro wage gap?

  • A Visual Primer for the Food and Agricultural Sectors

    Amber Waves, December 16, 2013

    Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, released in September 2013, is a collection of charts and maps covering fundamental statistics and trends related to the U.S. agricultural and food sectors. This data feature highlights a few of the questions that can be answered by the Essentials.

  • Alleviating Poverty in the United States: The Critical Role of SNAP Benefits

    ERR-132, April 09, 2012

    ERS calculated the anti-poverty effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly called Food Stamps) using three measures: prevalence, depth, and severity of poverty. Get Report Summary and blog posting

  • Anatomy of Nonmetro High-Poverty Areas: Common in Plight, Distinctive in Nature

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2004

    This article discusses how rural high poverty counties differ across racial and demographic lines. Comparisons are made among and between high poverty counties populated by African Americans, Hispanics, Whites, and Native Americans.

  • Baby Boom Migration and Its Impact on Rural America

    ERR-79, August 10, 2009

    If baby boomers follow past migration patterns, the nonmetro population age 55-75 will increase by 30 percent between now and 2020, with some rural communities affected more than others.

  • Creating Rural Wealth: A New Lens for Rural Development Efforts

    Amber Waves, September 20, 2012

    Rural development efforts that create and maintain a broad portfolio of wealth may be central to sustainable rural prosperity.

  • Data Feature

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2006

    The incidence of poverty is commonly used as an indicator of economic well-being for places or groups of people. But a simple dichotomy of poor versus not poor at a given time may conceal much that would broaden our understanding of poverty. ERS defines counties as high- and persistent-poverty areas if 20 percent or more of their population had poverty-level incomes in each of the four decennial censuses since 1970.

  • Dimensions of Child Poverty in Rural Areas

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    An expanding U.S. economy and welfare reform in the 1990s both helped reduce the share of rural children in families living below the poverty rate.

  • Economic Recovery: Lessons Learned From Previous Recessions

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2010

    The rates of employment loss and unemployment in the recent recession are about the same in metro and nonmetro areas, but based on previous recessions, nonmetro employment may recover more slowly. As in past recessions, manufacturing-dependent nonmetro counties felt the effects of the recessions sooner than other nonmetro areas. Unemployment rates continue to be lowest for the college-educated in both nonmetro and metro areas.

  • Energy Development’s Impacts on Rural Employment Growth

    Amber Waves, December 16, 2013

    Research indicates that the expansion of emerging energy industries—such as shale gas, wind power, and ethanol production—during the last decade created jobs in rural economies, but the employment impacts varied widely based on the industry.

  • Factors Affecting Former Residents' Returning to Rural Communities

    ERR-185, May 21, 2015

    The desire to raise children back home was among the most frequently cited reasons for returning to live in relatively remote rural areas. Most nonreturnees who considered returning cited limited career opportunities as the primary barrier.

  • Farm Household Well-Being: Comparing Consumption- and Income-Based Measures

    ERR-91, February 12, 2010

    ERS presents, for the first time, estimates of farm households' consumption expenditures and compares them to consumption estimates for all U.S. households. Consumption can complement indicators of household income in assessing economic well-being.

  • Farm Poverty Lowest in U.S. History

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2005

    Fifty years ago, half of all U.S. farm families were poor. Today, however, farm poverty is at its lowest level in the Nation's history due to the availability of remunerative off-farm employment coupled with onfarm gains in labor productivity.

  • Federal Funding for Rural America: Who Get's What?

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2004

    Federal spending and credit programs can revive or sustain rural economies. Overall, rural areas received slightly less funding per capita ($6,020) than urban areas ($6,131) in 2001, but the amount of funding varied greatly by type or function of the program.

  • Federal Tax Policies and Low-Income Rural Households

    EIB-76, May 05, 2011

    ERS examines the effects of current Federal tax provisions regarding low- and moderate-income households in rural America, focusing on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

  • Food Assistance Landscape, March 2006

    EIB-6-2, February 15, 2006

    One in five Americans participates in at least one of USDA's food and nutrition assistance programs during the year. In fiscal 2005, an estimated 55 percent of USDA's budget supported the programs that provide children and low-income people with access to food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education. The Economic Research Service (ERS) is responsible for conducting studies and evaluations of USDA's food assistance programs. The Food Assistance Landscape March 2006 uses preliminary data from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to examine trends in the food assistance programs through fiscal 2005 (October 1, 2004 to September 30, 2005). It also discusses a recent ERS study that examined patterns of entry into and exit from the Food Stamp Program.

  • Food Security Assessment GFA14

    GFA-14, February 03, 2003

    This report projects food gaps in 70 low-income developing countries and presents findings for North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union.

  • Former Welfare Recipients Affect Economic Growth and Wages

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2005

    A goal of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) is to move recipients of public assistance into jobs. ERS researchers examined some of the labor market impacts of the "welfare-to-work" provisions of PRWORA. Results show that the influx of public assistance recipients into the labor force from 1996 to 2000 reduced wage growth in low-skill occupations. Concurrently, the influx of former welfare recipients added workers to the labor force, contributing to economic growth during the period.

  • Foundation Giving to Rural Areas in the United States Is Disproportionately Low

    Amber Waves, August 03, 2015

    ERS estimates that the value of U.S. foundation grants to benefit rural areas was 6-7 percent of total domestic grants in 2010.

  • Geographic Targeting Issues in the Delivery of Rural Development Assistance

    EIB-65, April 30, 2010

    This report uses analysis of the geographic distribution of Federal funding to discuss potential tradeoffs for distressed rural areas when shifting from one form of rural development assistance to another, particularly when shifting to greater use of Government-guaranteed loans. The study also uses correlation analysis to document the extent of targeting rural development programs to highly rural areas and to rural areas experiencing distress in the form of poverty, low employment, and population decline. Findings indicate that distressed rural areas might fare worse than other nonmetro areas with some kinds of shifts, such as reducing grants and direct Government loans to fund increases in guaranteed loans. The effects on distressed areas would depend on the form of distress, the programs involved, and how they are targeted geographically.