Rural Family Economic Success
Despite working hard, far too many low-income parents in rural communities find severe obstacles in their path toward financial stability and success. Too often, families are disconnected from the opportunities and supports they need to succeed. Their communities struggle to mobilize the resources and connections that strengthen families. These challenges can thwart the efforts and aspirations of even the most resourceful families and lengthen the odds against their children doing well.
At the Annie E. Casey Foundation we believe that building more promising futures for vulnerable rural children begins with improving the present circumstances of their parents. The Rural Family Economic Success framework offers strategies to help families increase their income ("Earn it"), stabilize their financial lives, ("Keep it") and acquire assets and build wealth ("Grow it").
- Earn it. "Earn It" strategies help families increase their income through support in three areas: readiness to earn, opportunities to earn, and "patching" strategies. In education and retraining programs, workers learn new skills to respond to the changing job market. Coordinated workforce and economic development systems match skilled workers with high-quality jobs. Patching supports, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits help rural families close the gap between what they earn and the cost of covering the basics for their families.
- Keep it. Through this set of strategies, families retain more of their earnings. Decreased costs of working (transportation and child care) help insure that families can provide basic necessities, respond to emergencies, and still build a nest egg. "Keep It" strategies also include efforts to improve family financial literacy and increase access to fair financial services, including enforcing anti-predatory legislation.
- Grow It. Long-term family economic success depends on stable employment and sound financial investment. This last set of strategies helps families increase their assets to build secure financial futures for themselves and their children. In addition, these strategies look to the larger community, sparking efforts to create and sustain business growth and development that is connected to the regional economy.
- Find resources on rural families in the Casey Foundation's Knowledge Center.
- Read an overview of Casey's work on economic security.