The Rural South

Listening to Families in Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee

Posted February 27, 2004
By the VOICES for Alabama’s Children, Kentucky Youth Advocates, and the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth
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AECF The Rural South 2004 cover


This report shares feedback from 116 focus group participants with limited resources in rural Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. Researchers used this feedback to identify the challenges and supports that these families experience and to outline strategies for advancing their opportunities in four key areas: services and supports, educational opportunity, economic opportunity and social networks.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation funded this project — and several other multi-state projects — as part of a larger effort to explore child-well being in rural America. The resulting reports aim to provide useful data to policymakers and encourage smart investments that will strengthen the well-being of families in rural areas. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

Families weighed in on raising kids in some of the nation’s poorest rural communities — and here’s what they had to say

Researchers spoke to families in rural Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee and identified five major factors influencing their well-being. These were: 1) too few jobs offering family-supporting wages and benefits; 2) limited affordable child-care options; 3) a shortage of youth activities promoting academic and social success; 4) inadequate housing; and 5) insufficient motivation for young people to pursue higher education.