Rural Poverty Rate Reaches 18.3% in 2011
The percentage of people living in poverty increased from 15.8 percent of those living in rural counties in 2007, before the recession began, to 18.3 percent in 2011.
There was a higher percentage of people living in poverty in rural counties than in either the cities or exurban communities in 2011, according to figures collected by the U.S. Census.
In 2011, 14.5 percent of those residing in exurban counties were classified as impoverished, up from 12.2 percent in 2007. In urban counties, the poverty rate rose from 12.4 percent to 15.6 percent.
The rate of increase of urban poverty from 2007 to 2011 was greater than in either exurban or rural counties, according to the Census.
(Exurban counties lie in metropolitan regions, but about half the people who live there reside in rural settings.)
The map above shows the change in poverty rates in rural and exurban counties between 2007 and 2011. The white areas are urban counties.
Nationally, the poverty rate rose 2.9 percentage points, rising from 12.9 percent in 2007 to 15.9 percent in 2011. (Believe me, with all the rounding, the rise was 2.9 percentage points.)
The reddish counties are those where the poverty rate rose 3 points or more — or above the national average.
The greenish counties had rising poverty rates, but less than the national average.
The purple counties had poverty rates that were unchanged or actually dropped.
Click on the map to see a larger version.
In absolute numbers, there were 10.4 million more people living in poverty in 2011 than in 2007, rising from 38 million to 48.3 million. (Again, rounding.)
The number of rural poor increased 1.37 million, to a total of nearly 9 million people in 2011.