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  • Rural Welfare Reform: What Have We Learned?

    Amber Waves, February 03, 2003

    Since passage of welfare reform act in 1996, welfare and food stamp caseloads have declined substantially, employment and earnings of single mothers have increased, and poverty rates of single mothers have fallen. Still, not all areas of the country are benefiting equally from the legislation.

  • Issues in Food Assistance-Reforming Welfare: What Does It Mean for Rural Areas?

    FANRR-26-4, June 03, 2002

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act dramatically altered the social safety net for poor Americans, including the 7 million people living in poverty in nonmetro areas. This issue brief examines evidence from recent research about rural-urban differences in welfare reform impacts on program participation, employment, earnings, and poverty and assesses how well welfare reform is working in rural areas.

  • Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor: Demographics of Low-Income Households

    TB-1898, April 19, 2002

    The economic well-being of the U.S. population with incomes below 130 percent of the official poverty guideline is of special interest to policymakers and food assistance program administrators. For example, the Food Stamp Program uses gross income below this level as one of several criteria for determining eligibility for program benefits. This study employs alternative welfare measures, including the Sen index, to assess the economic status of the food stamp-eligible population and to track changes in welfare status over time. In general, welfare measures of households with income no greater than 130 percent of the poverty line improved slightly between 1981 and 1995. The study also assesses which demographic characteristics that describe low-income households have the largest impact on the welfare measures. This demographic analysis is useful for identifying household types that could merit special attention in designing strategies such as job training or food stamp education and outreach.

  • Poverty, Policy, and the Macroeconomy

    TB-1889, February 23, 2001

    This report is an empirical inquiry into how poverty is changed by the macroeconomy. The analysis suggests low real wage rates and not the unemployment rate are the most important determinant of poverty in the long run. Changes in output and unemployment primarily affect cyclical or shortrun poverty. The empirical results weaken the belief that output growth acting alone will significantly and permanently reduce poverty in the United States. Instead, the results suggest combining economic growth strategies with targeted interventions that may lie outside the traditional sphere of monetary and fiscal policy.

  • Issues in Rural Health: How Will Measures to Control Medicare Spending Affect Rural Communities?

    AIB-734, March 01, 1997

    The Federal Medicare program provides subsidized health insurance for one in every seven Americans. Medicare covers a higher proportion of rural than urban residents because rural residents are more likely to be elderly or disabled persons entitled to benefits. The rapid growth of Medicare expenditures has prompted legislative proposals to control the increase in spending. This report finds that the proposals may have a greater effect on rural than urban communities due to the higher proportion of Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas.

  • Racial/Ethnic Minorities in Rural Areas: Progress and Stagnation

    AER-731, August 01, 1996

    Rural minorities lag behind rural Whites and urban minorities on many crucial economic and social measures. This report examines rural Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian and Pacific Islander populations and their economic well-being in the 1980's, an economically difficult decade for rural areas. Results show minimal minority progress as measured by changes in occupation, income, and poverty rates. However, the type and speed of progress was quite different among minority groups and between men and women of the same minority group. Results showed considerable diversity among groups in the characteristics that were associated with poor economic outcomes.

  • The Diverse Social and Economic Structure of Nonmetropolitan America

    RDRR-49, September 18, 1985

    Effective rural development planning depends on facts and analysis based, not on national rural averages, but on the diverse social and economic structure of rural America. Programs tailored to particular types of rural economies may be more effective than a generalized program. This study identifies seven distinct types of rural counties according to their major economic base, presence of federally owned land, or population characteristics: (1) counties depending heavily on farming, (2) counties depending heavily on manufacturing, (3) mining counties with economic based principally on natural resources, (4) counties specializing in government functions, (5) persistent poverty counties, (6) Federal lands counties, and (7) retirement settlements. Because of these unique characteristics, government policies and economic trends may affect these county groups in quite different ways.