The Forgotten Fifth

Child Poverty in Rural America

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Carsey Institute

March 1, 2009

Summary

This report spotlights the fact that one-fifth of all poor children hail from rural areas. It makes a clear case for why policymakers should to look beyond the urban landscape to the American countryside when creating services and programs aimed at helping rural children in need. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

The one-size-fits-all approach to ending child poverty is flawed — and here’s why

In the national narrative, child poverty is an exclusively urban issue. In reality, rural America has experienced higher child poverty rates for decades. This disconnect means that policymakers are overlooking the unique challenges that rural families face when designing and implementing critical welfare reforms. Those challenges include absent transportation, low wages and fewer job opportunities. 

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