U.S. Recession Hikes Rate of Rural Poverty
The percentage of people living in poverty was higher in rural America than in either exurban or urban counties in 2010, according to the U.S. Census.
And these rates have increased since the recession began in 2007.
In 2007, before the recession began, 15.8 percent of those living in rural counties fell under the poverty line. Three years later, that rate in rural counties had increased to 17.8 percent.
A single person would be considered to be below the poverty threshold if he or she had total income of less than $11,139 in 2010. The threshold for a two-person household was $14,218 and for a four-person household with two children it was $22,859 in 2010.
Nationally, the poverty rate stood at 13 percent in 2007, rising to 15.3 percent in 2010. Urban rates were 12.4 percent in 2007 and 14.9 percent in 2010.
Exurban counties — counties that are in metro areas, but where half the people live in rural settings — saw their poverty rates increase from 12.2 percent to 14.2 percent in 2010.
The map above shows the change in poverty rates between 2007 and 2010 in rural counties. (Click on it to see a larger version.) Only 497 counties out of more than 2,000 had poverty rates that dropped between 2007 and 2010. They are in blue.
Dark red counties had large increases in poverty rates. Pink counties had a rise in poverty rates above the U.S. average. And orange counties had rising rates, but the increase was less than the nation as a whole.
The map below shows poverty rates in rural counties only in 2010. Dark red counties had the highest rates. (Click on the map to see a larger version.) Dark blue counties had extremely low poverty rates. All the blue counties had poverty rates below the U.S. average.
U.S. Census/Daily Yonder The rural high poverty areas follow a long-standing pattern. Appalachia, the South, the Texas/Mexico border and Native American reservation counties have the highest rates. Here are the 50 rural counties with the highest rates of poverty in 2010.
Below are the 50 rural counties with the lowest poverty rates in 2010.