For decades, the poverty rate has been higher in rural America than in metropolitan areas, a situation often attributed to an older, lower-paid, and less-educated rural population. A new USDA report says the gap between rural and urban areas widened, to 3.5 percentage points, during the economic recovery that began a decade ago.
Nationwide, women are having fewer children and waiting longer to have them than a decade ago. But one pattern is unchanged: rural women, on average, are younger when they give birth and have more children than women living in metropolitan areas, says the CDC. Indeed, the gap between urban and rural fertility rates has widened even as overall fertility rates — the expected number of births per 1,000 women — have declined.
Rural incomes are up and the rural poverty rate is down, dropping twice as fast as the U.S. average, said the Census Bureau on Wednesday in its annual report on income and poverty.
One-third of rural counties have a poverty rate above 20 percent, a dramatic increase since 2000 that is unlikely to cured by the slow, post-recession economic recovery, says a report by the Carsey School of Public Policy. "The consistent increases in poverty rates in rural counties suggest that rural areas are facing a longer-term decline in economic conditions."
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved unanimously a USDA-FDA funding bill that rejected President Trump's proposals to slash spending on rural development, crop insurance and food stamps. And in the first major congressional disagreement with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the $145 billion funding bill overrode his recent elimination of the slot for an undersecretary in charge of rural economic development — and directed the administration to fill the job.
Congress would shear $6 billion from food stamps and the Women and Infants (WIC) food program along with eliminating two overseas food-aid programs, according to data leaked to the think tank Third Way. Proposals to cut farm subsidies and federally subsidized crop insurance in fiscal 2018 also are expected in the Trump administration budget to be released on Tuesday.
Hunger experts at an FAO meeting in Rome said that if women farmers had the same access as men to land, tools, and credit, crop yields would rise by at least a third and there would be 150 million fewer hungry people in the world, Reuters reports.
A report from the Carsey Institute says immigrants are just as likely to hold a job as native-born Americans in rural areas but twice as likely to be part of the working poor, reports the Daily Yonder. Nearly one in six rural immigrants don't earn enough money for their household income to top the federal poverty level.
At Berea College in eastern Kentucky, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that 26 community development organizations will be able to draw on $401 million in funding to reduce rural poverty through building or improving essential facilities and services such as education and health care.