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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.