Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Proposed Social Security changes would have a disproportionate impact on rural America

Republicans and Democrats agree that Social Security should change the way it calculates cost-of-living increases for beneficiaries, but any cuts would disproportionately affect rural America, Bill Bishop and Roberto Gallardo report for the Daily Yonder. The total personal income from Social Security payments in rural counties is 9.3 percent, almost twice urban counties' share of 5 percent. (Social Security Administration graphics)
"In many rural places, Social Security is a very critical element of the local economic base," Peter Nelson, a geographer at Middlebury College in Vermont, told the Yonder. In counties with cities under 50,000 population, Social Security accounted for 8.2 percent of total personal income, Bishop and Gallardo report.

In 2009, 16.7 percent of the national population received Social Security monthly payments either as old-age pension, survivor benefits or disability checks, Bishop and Gallardo report. The percentage for rural communities was 23.6 percent and 21.2 percent of small city residents received a check. To see data for individual states and counties, click here. (Read more)

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