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Poverty And Place: A Critical Review Of Rural Poverty Literature


  • Weber, Bruce A.
  • Jensen, Leif


Poverty rates are highest in the most urban and most rural areas of the United States, and are higher in non-metropolitan (nonmetro) than metropolitan (metro) areas, yet rural poverty remains relatively obscured from mainstream political and popular attention. This fact has motivated considerable research by rural social scientists on the relationship between poverty and place generally, and rural-urban differences in poverty, in particular. We provide a critical review of the literature on rural poverty, paying particular attention to methodogical and statistical challenges facing quantitative analyses. This body of research confirms the higher prevalence of poverty in nonmetro areas, and finds that while both compositional (individual) and contextual (structural) factors are at play, a complete explanation remains elusive. We note endogenous membership, omitted variable, and other challenges facing researchers, and conclude with suggestions for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Weber, Bruce A. & Jensen, Leif, 2004. "Poverty And Place: A Critical Review Of Rural Poverty Literature," Working Papers 18913, Oregon State University, Rural Poverty Research Center (RPRC).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:osruwp:18913

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alton Thompson & Donald McDowell, 1994. "Determinants of poverty among workers in metro and nonmetro areas of the south," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 159-177, June.
    2. Davis, Elizabeth E. & Weber, Bruce A., 2002. "How Much Does Local Job Growth Improve Employment Outcomes of the Rural Working Poor?," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 32(2), pages 255-274, Summer/Fa.
    3. Davis, Elizabeth E. & Connolly, Laura S. & Weber, Bruce A., 2003. "Local Labor Market Conditions and the Jobless Poor: How Much Does Local Job Growth Help in Rural Areas?," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 1-16, December.
    4. Blumenberg, Evelyn & Shiki, Kimiko, 2003. "Spatial Mismatch Outside of Large Urban Areas: An Analysis of Welfare Recipients in Fresno County, California," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt8xq2k8zn, University of California Transportation Center.
    5. Bruce Weber & Mark Edwards & Greg Duncan, 2004. "Single Mother Work and Poverty under Welfare Reform: Are Policy Impacts Different in Rural Areas?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 31-51, Winter.
    6. Blumenberg, Evelyn A. & Shiki, Kimiko, 2003. "Spatial Mismatch Outside of Large Urban Areas: An Analysis of Welfare Recipients in Fresno County, California," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt79g1c6bs, University of California Transportation Center.
    7. William Levernier & Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman, 2000. "The Causes of Regional Variations in U.S. Poverty: A Cross-County Analysis," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 473-497.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fisher, Monica G. & Foster, Kenneth A., 2004. "Measuring The Effect Of Rural Residence On Individual Employment Outcomes: Is Rural Residence Endogenous?," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 19928, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    2. Daniel Weinberg, 2005. "Poverty Estimates for Places in the United States," Working Papers 05-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Crandall, Mindy S. & Weber, Bruce A., 2004. "Local Social And Economic Conditions, Spatial Concentrations Of Poverty, And Poverty Dynamics," Working Papers 18916, Oregon State University, Rural Poverty Research Center (RPRC).
    4. Gundersen, Craig, 2005. "Are The Effects Of The Macroeconomy And Social Policies On Poverty Different In Rural America?," Working Papers 18909, Oregon State University, Rural Poverty Research Center (RPRC).
    5. Fisher, Monica G., 2004. "On The Empirical Finding Of A Higher Risk Of Poverty In Rural Areas: Is Rural Residence Endogenous To Poverty?," Working Papers 18917, Oregon State University, Rural Poverty Research Center (RPRC).

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    Food Security and Poverty;


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