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Social Service Delivery in Two Rural Counties

February 21, 2019

When low-income residents struggle to make ends meet, non-profit social service agencies can help fill the gaps. In doing so, these agencies must find sufficient funding, retain qualified staff, and craft efficient service delivery mechanisms that are respectful of clients and communities. Some of the challenges that service providers encounter are exacerbated by rural characteristics, such as vast geographic distances and the lack of economies of scale. Yet in some ways rurality is beneficial, as small communities can facilitate community engagement and providers can engage natural supports in their service delivery work.

Data Snapshot: Fewer Young Adults Lack Health Insurance Following Key ACA Provisions

October 31, 2018

The share of people without health insurance has dropped dramatically since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but declines have been most dramatic among young adults age 19 to 25. In 2008, one-in-three 23-year-olds were uninsured, likely reflecting their graduation from college and therefore, their ineligibility to be covered on parental plans. Beginning in 2010, the ACA allowed young adults to remain on their parents' plans until age 26; the orange line in Figure 1 reflects this shift, as 26-year-olds, rather than 23-year-olds, became the most often uninsured by 2013.

Data Snapshot: EITC Continues to Reach Families in Poor Places

October 9, 2018

Recent proposals in the House and Senate (for example, the Grow American Incomes Now Act) focus on amplifying the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)—a refundable tax credit for low-income workers—to compensate for growing wage inequity. We find that the share of EITC filers who are families with children is especially high in the poorest counties (those counties outlined in black on Map 1), including many places throughout the South. Many of these counties are nonmetropolitan counties (see Map 2), suggesting that the EITC can provide safety net support in places where other social services may be less available. While an EITC expansion could be costly, existing research shows that its effects on poverty reduction, employment, and both children's health and achievement are considerable, and therefore, worth considering in the scheme of ongoing broad tax revisions.

Data Snapshot: Declines in Child Poverty Continue in 2017

September 13, 2018

The official poverty measure indicates that child poverty declined by 1.1 percentage points between 2016 and 2017, according to analyses of the latest American Community Survey data released today. By 2017, child poverty across the nation was still 0.4 percentage point higher than before the Great Recession. Child poverty remained higher in cities and rural places than in the suburbs. For the first time, rates in cities dipped below the pre-recession level, although poverty is still slightly higher in rural and suburban places than in 2007. 

Data Snapshot: Both Rural and Urban SNAP Recipients Affected by Proposed Work Requirements

July 26, 2018

With the expiration of the current Farm Bill on September 30, 2018, the House and Senate are working in conference committee to reconcile their versions of its replacement. A major difference between the two is the House's inclusion of a more intensive work requirement. By narrowing the parental work exemption to only those with children under age 6, and requiring recipients up to age 60 (rather than 50) to work, the proposed House bill would newly subject about 16 percent of SNAP recipients in rural and urban places alike to work requirements. 

Full-Time Employment Not Always a Ticket to Health Insurance

March 20, 2018

The majority of Americans—55.7 percent in 2016, according to the Census Bureau—access health insurance through employer-based plans. However, employment does not always result in health insurance coverage, and not all those who report working full time, year round are covered by an employer-based plan. In particular, many low-income workers are unable to access health insurance through their employers.

"Not very many options for the people who are working here"

November 14, 2017

In this brief, we use interview and focus group data to describe some of the ways that restricted rural housing stock affects working families in two rural New England counties, and explore solutions proposed by rural residents and experts to make housing affordable (see Box 1 on page 2). Rural amenities and scenery make residence in certain New England regions desirable for second-home owners, vacationers, and retirees. However, the use of housing for these purposes, combined with efforts to conserve acreage and preserve scenery, serves to diminish the supply of housing, making it unaffordable for many low- and moderate-income residents. Moreover, the housing that is available varies in quality, and regional nonprofit and federal housing assistance programs lack the capacity to meet all residents' needs.

Data Snapshot: SNAP Declines Continue in 2016, but Not for Rural Places

November 9, 2017

In 2016, 12.4 percent of households reported Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) receipt, down 0.4 percentage point from 2015. Similar declines in suburbs and cities drove the national decrease, but the 14.8 percent of rural households receiving SNAP did not significantly change between 2015 and 2016.Median income in rural SNAP households, at $17,884, was lower than in cities ($19,873) and suburbs ($24,583). Overall, SNAP receipt remains higher than before the Great Recession, though rates are slowly declining (see Figure 1). The share of SNAP households containing at least one worker increased between 2015 and 2016 (to 79.1 percent) as working families continue to struggle to make ends meet.

Data Snapshot: Nine Million Publicly Insured Children in the Twelve States Facing Federal CHIP Cutoff by End of Year

November 2, 2017

Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—the federal program that extends health insurance coverage to low income children not eligible for traditional Medicaid—officially expired on September 30, 2017. Given that states implement CHIP in different ways, states will run out of funds at different times, with twelve states exhausting their federal allotment by the end of 2017 (see Figure 1).Several of these states are populous, and together are home to nearly 9 million—or 30 percent—of the nation's publicly insured children, and to one in five publicly insured rural children. Lawmakers are discussing how to fund reauthorization, and in the meantime, children may become uninsured or switch to more expensive and less comprehensive alternate plans in the interim. As states begin planning for these transitions, legislators should consider both administrative costs and potential effects on family health and finances.

Data Snapshot: Poverty Estimates for New Hampshire Counties

October 30, 2017

On October 20, 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau made available estimates of poverty and other indicators for 2016 for small geographic areas. In considering these data from the American Community Survey (ACS), it is important to pay close attention to the margins of error (MOE) before reaching any conclusions—especially when doing comparisons such as comparing poverty rates between counties and years.

Data Snapshot: 2016 Child Poverty Rate Sees Largest Decline Since Before Great Recession

September 14, 2017

Child poverty declined by 1.2 percentage points between 2015 and 2016, according to analyses of the official poverty measure (OPM) in the latest American Community Survey. By 2016, child poverty across the nation was still 1.5 percentage points higher than before the Great Recession. Child poverty remained higher in cities and rural places than in the suburbs. Across the nation there is substantial variability both in the level of poverty and in improvement since the start of the Great Recession—25 states have child poverty rates higher than those in 2007 (see what's happening in your state). Of course, the official poverty measure is only one indicator of economic challenge, and many families living above the poverty line still struggle to make ends meet. 

Three in Ten Rural and Urban Medicaid Recipients Affected by Potential Work Requirements

July 6, 2017

About three in ten Medicaid recipients could be affected by a work requirement, a share that is similar in rural and urban places. Among Medicaid recipients potentially affected by a work requirement, the majority worked at least part of the previous year or were motivated to work but could not find a job, a share that is slightly higher in rural places than in urban (83.4 percent versus 78.7 percent).The Affordable Care Act in 2010 gave states the option to expand Medicaid access to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Thus more able-bodied and working adults have become eligible for Medicaid. In addition, several states have petitioned the federal government to have the option to enforce work requirements for those receiving Medicaid in their state. Specific waiver requests vary by state, but could have broad implications for Medicaid recipients across the nation, and typically include a requirement of able-bodied, adult Medicaid recipients to complete a certain number of hours spent working, or in some kind of other approved activity, like job training or looking for work. Children under age 19, pregnant or recently postpartum women, people with disabilities, and sole caretakers of young children are typically excluded from these proposed work requirements.