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The Pros And Cons Of Poverty In The Non-Metro Area

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Poverty rates among all citizens are highest in the extremely urban and truly rural areas of the United States. However, poverty rates, as measured by the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, are higher in non-metro areas as compared to metropolitan centers. The demographics of poverty offer insight to public administrators and policy writers beyond the demographics of simply rural versus metro areas. For example, in 2016 rural White citizens were half as likely to live in poverty as either Black or Native American citizens. In addition, a female head of household in a rural area is nearly eight times as likely to live in poverty as a married couple. Couple these demographics with the fact that only 46 million citizens live in nonmetro areas – roughly 15% of the national population – it is not surprising that rural areas seem to receive less attention by federally elected officials than urban and suburban areas. At the county level, poverty as defined by the US government is an immensely rural problem, with the most remote rural places at the greatest disadvantage. It would seem obvious that where and how an individual lives would matter in a person’s ability to rise above the poverty level. However, federal policy that addresses poverty is not specific to rural areas or metropolitan areas. Within the context of all policy, rural areas are unique and policy makers ought to consider this when addressing legislation to help citizens in these
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