Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Income inequality brings rise in rural child poverty

Income inequality has led to a rise in rural child poverty, says a report by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From 2003 to 2012 rural child poverty increased by 6.6 percent, while incomes among rural families with children declined 6.5 percent, compared to a decline of 3.8 percent among urban families with children. The report says that was "partly due to the fact that average incomes for rural families with children did not rise during the economic expansion of 2003-07, and fell during the recession and the early years of the recovery."

"Roughly two-thirds of the rise in rural child poverty and three-quarters of the rise in urban child poverty between 2003 and 2012 resulted not from declining average incomes but rather from changes in the distribution of income around that average," says the report. "Child poverty rose more than might be expected, given average income changes, because income declines were especially large for families with children that were close to the poverty line." (USDA graphic)
"The poorest one-quarter of American families saw a bigger decrease in their incomes before and during the Great Recession than families in higher income brackets," Tim Marema reports for the Daily Yonder. "And the earnings of these low-income families didn’t bounce back as quickly or as much following the recession. Child poverty in rural America dropped by 3 points from 2012-2014. Though this was a bigger drop than urban children experienced, the overall rural child-poverty rate remained higher during the period (23.7 percent for rural vs. 20.7 for urban)."

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