Child Poverty in Rural America is a Sad Fact

(An important diary on a topic that doesn't get much media attention. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Join the discussion for Rural Progressives on our issues, challenges, and candidates for 2010 at Hillbilly Report. City Slickers are more than welcome too!!

When one thinks about children in poverty in many regions of the country one normally thinks about children living in urban societies. While much child poverty exists in urban conditions the fact is that rural Americans face even a greater challenge uplifting their children from poverty. New statistics are very disturbing for those of us raising children in rural areas of the country.

This article sums up the sobering new statistics:

(January 2008) While many people think of poverty in the United States as primarily an urban problem, data released by the Census Bureau this week indicate that most of the counties with high child poverty rates are located in rural America.  Of the 100 counties with the highest child poverty rates in 2005, 95 are rural counties. All 100 counties have child poverty rates above 40 percent, more than twice the national rate of 18.5 percent in 2005.

Many of the counties with high rates of child poverty are relatively remote and sparsely populated. Among rural counties, the lower the population density, the higher the child poverty rate is likely to be. The child poverty rate for the most remote rural counties collectively (28 percent) is 11 percentage points higher than the rate in the most urban counties. More than half of the 100 counties with the highest child poverty rates have populations of fewer than 20,000 people.

Minority children are particularly hit hard in rural areas also. Looking at the table at the link, I found out that my own state of Kentucky has 14% of the top 100 counties with highest rates of children in poverty. Rural areas in the south are hit hard in general with 74% of counties with high rates of child poverty.

Here is a great show about child poverty in rural America made by Nickelodeon. It is well worth 22 minutes of watching time:

The fact that rural parents have to face is that 1 out of every 5 of our children live in poverty. We have to demand of our elected representatives that rural America is no longer overlooked. Rural communities have seen their precious jobs outsourced and their children moved away.

The flirtations of rural America with the Republican Party has failed. The very "representation" elected in many rural areas has picked them clean, selling away their jobs and allowing their communities and small towns to rot.

It is time that rural areas vote in their own interests once again. We should rise up and demand adequate healthcare for our communities. We should demand fair-trade and investing in manufacturing in rural America once again. We should fight for a middle-class and not be dragged back into a two-class society, which Conservatives have tried to get back to since the Enlightenment.

It is time we elect Democrats to represent us.


  • so many problems

    that many people think of as "urban" are just as prevalent in rural areas. We have friends who used to live in rural Iowa, and there was a meth house just down the gravel road from their beautiful old farmhouse.

    Thanks for this diary, RDemocrat.

  • Turkey Scratch and Hardscrabble

    describe the majority of rural Iowans in the southern tier of counties I'm afraid.

    It's the minority that own most of the productive land, with most folks actually living on small family farms just barely scraping by.

    Two years ago, I bought a rural dancehall in a dying town for fifty dollars. It had a decent roof and siding, and since nobody ever used it much anymore, the city was just going to tear it down.  

    The same property in urban Des Moines in the same condition would fetch upwards of thirty thousand dollars in the worst area of town.  

    The census data for this town indicate a thirty year decrease in population for the entire county, with large landowners buying everybody out.

    Those left are in dire straights right about now.  The closest grocery store and gas station are thirty miles away.

    With sub-minimum wage jobs, and two dollar a gallon gas, it's tough.  

    I don't know how anybody could afford to raise a kid in that area, I really don't.

Login or Join to comment and post.