Rural areas have a disproportionate share of the US poverty population. Like poor urban communities, the persistence and severity of poverty in rural America can be linked to a limited opportunity structure which is the outcome of both past social and economic development policies and current economic transformation. Many rural communities lack stable employment, opportunities for mobility, investment in the community, and diversity in the economy and other social institutions. They are increasingly socially and spatially isolated and particularly vulnerable to adverse effects from structural economic change. This study reviews research on rural poverty and traces its relationship to its historical roots in social, political, and economic inequality and to current economic restructuring. Relevant sources of information on rural poverty include classic community and regional analyses, studies of rural-urban migration, regional development and underdevelopment, economic restructuring, and labor market analysis.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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