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Changes in Work and Family Across the Rural U.S.

  • Marybeth J. MattinglyEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the National Symposium on Family Issues book series (NSFI, volume 10)

Abstract

Dramatic changes in the population composition, realities of work, and family structure over the past 50 years have had a profound impact on the rural United States. In this chapter, I compare rural counties in 1960 to those in more recent years. I find amid the backdrop of aging and diversifying populations, shifts toward a service-based economy coupled with a rise in both adults living alone and single-parent families. Patterns largely mirror those in the urban U.S. but are sometimes more pronounced. Taken together, these changes have profound implications for how families can make ends meet: families work more hours at less-stable jobs, often with less-dense networks of family and friends for support. As a result, these changes necessitate rethinking some of the key assumptions of social safety net programs—such as work requirements—if they are to help low-income and poor rural families move up the income ladder.

Keywords

Rural family change Rural labor force Economic change in rural U.S. Changing age structure Social economic policy Rural labor demographics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I gratefully acknowledge research assistance from Sarah Leonard and Anita Mathur, and analytic support from Jessica Carson and Andrew Schaefer, at the Carsey School of Public Policy. This research was supported, in part, by a grant from anonymous donors and by Grant Number 90PD0275 from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal Reserve Bank of BostonBostonUSA

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