Rural Nerds: Top 10 Research Recap Begins

Small Towns

By Marie Powell, former staff member

Here at the Center for Rural Affairs, we're rural nerds, knee-deep in research. We've been reporting on it for 40+ years. 

Last spring we came up with the Top 10 Rural Research Reports publication. We splashed a good-looking, near-sighted cow on the cover. Now the bovine is on the loose again with a #tbt look-back countdown of  those reports (throwback Thursday, that is). Here is number 10.

#10 Rural Reports on Families in Need

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Earned Income Tax Credit
by Jon M. Bailey, 2014

These reports looked at who used the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in metropolitan, small city, and rural areas of the nation. Both explored if the prevailing stereotype - that programs serving low-income individuals and families in need are mostly used in metropolitan areas - is still true.

We had found that rural areas actually had higher rates of poverty than metro areas when we examined Census data. Would that hold for SNAP and EITC?

Key Findings

  • SNAP usage from 2008 to 2012 was highest in rural households.
  • During the period, about one-in-seven households in small cities, small towns, and rural areas received SNAP benefits.
  • Rural areas and small cities have a higher proportion of households with senior and child residents receiving SNAP benefits.
  • Rural and small city tax returns in 2012 had a higher rate of claiming the EITC.
  • Proposals to expand the EITC have potential to provide greater anti-poverty, income support, and economic stimulus to rural and small city areas and residents.

See the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Rural Households Report here.

See the Earned Income Tax Credit and Rural Households Report here