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date: 25 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the unique issues faced by rural people and places in the new century, with the goal of raising the profile of disadvantaged rural populations for both scholarly and policy audiences. It begins with a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. official poverty measure—based on absolute money (rather than in-kind) income—for evaluating material disadvantage in rural areas. It then considers six key features of contemporary rural poverty that distinguish it from big-city or inner-city poverty (or suburban poverty). It also places current poverty patterns in rural America in the international context, providing a comparative assessment of theory, measurement, and policy on rural disadvantage in the United States and countries of the European Union including the UK. Finally, it looks at alternative approaches to the social welfare state, to conceptualizing poverty, and to better understanding the implications for rural people and places.

Keywords: rural people, disadvantaged rural populations, poverty measure, material disadvantage, rural areas, rural poverty, rural disadvantage, social welfare state, United States, European Union

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