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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2017

    This set of selections focuses on transportation and self-sufficiency. SSRC Selections highlight research, evaluation reports, and other publications that inform the field about key issues in, and effective practices for, fostering economic self-sufficiency.

    This set of selections focuses on transportation and self-sufficiency. SSRC Selections highlight research, evaluation reports, and other publications that inform the field about key issues in, and effective practices for, fostering economic self-sufficiency.

  • Individual Author: Walker, Karen
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2017

    Posted by Karen Walker, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Rural population in the United States has declined dramatically over the last 100 years. In 2015, 86 percent of Americans lived in metropolitan areas, which include both cities with over 50,000 people and “metropolitan clusters” that have 2,500 to 50,000 residents. However, over 46 million Americans live in non-metropolitan—that is, rural—areas.

    Rural poverty is widespread in the USA with higher proportions of rural residents than urban residents being poor. Rural poverty tends to...

    Posted by Karen Walker, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Rural population in the United States has declined dramatically over the last 100 years. In 2015, 86 percent of Americans lived in metropolitan areas, which include both cities with over 50,000 people and “metropolitan clusters” that have 2,500 to 50,000 residents. However, over 46 million Americans live in non-metropolitan—that is, rural—areas.

    Rural poverty is widespread in the USA with higher proportions of rural residents than urban residents being poor. Rural poverty tends to cluster in southern states and on tribal lands across the United States. Between 2010-2014, almost 22 percent of all people who lived in rural southern areas were poor. Further, the South contains 85 percent of the persistently poor counties in the US, meaning those counties that have had poverty rates of 20 percent or more for more than thirty years. And Southern states contain a disproportionate share of the US rural population (42 percent) compared with rural areas in the Northeast, Midwest, and western US.

    While higher poverty rates exist for people of all races and ethnicities living in rural areas, poverty rates between urban and rural residents vary by race. For example, in 2014 white poverty was about 12 percent in metropolitan areas and 15 percent in rural areas. In contrast, African American poverty was about 26 percent in metropolitan areas and 37 percent in rural areas. This pattern was similar for American Indians: about 25 percent of those living in cities were poor compared with 33 percent of the rural population. Further, poverty rates for minority populations were higher in 2014 than they were in 2003. And, despite a large increase in real incomes across the United States in 2015 compared with 2014, incomes for people in non-metropolitan areas did not demonstrate a statistically significant change. For many in rural communities, poverty is pervasive and persistent.

    For children, poverty in rural areas is a significant problem. Rural child poverty is especially pronounced for minority children. More than half of all rural African American children and 40 percent of American Indian children live in poverty. The consequences of growing up poor include poorer health and a higher probability of continued poverty into adulthood compared with children who grow up in wealthier households. To break this intergenerational cycle of poverty, sustained and intentional efforts are needed.

    Poverty, whether urban or rural, has multiple causes, including a mismatch between educational qualifications and skills and available jobs, few job opportunities (a particular problem in rural areas, even in good economic times), and accessible services top the list. Difficulties finding reliable transportation and high quality child care available during the hours that parents work present acute challenges in rural areas. Current rural poverty has been exacerbated by the recession that occurred between 2007-2010, which resulted in greater income losses to rural families and a relatively limited recovery. Historical events have had a lasting impact on rural poverty, such as long-standing discriminatory practices toward minorities and policies restricting American Indians to relatively non-productive lands.

    In addition, rural geography presents challenges to ameliorating poverty. The dispersion of the population over large areas and the relative paucity of public transportation pose significant challenges to educational, employment, health care, and child care solutions that may work in urban areas. Rural residents rely heavily on private cars to meet transportation needs. Small studies indicate that poor rural residents often depend on unreliable modes of transportation or car pooling with friends and family for getting to work. Subsidized child care may not be available in rural areas. Skilled health care providers are in short supply in rural areas, meaning that some of America’s poorest residents, who suffer more from both poor mental and physical health than their middle-class counterparts, cannot get the health services they need. In addition, a lack of consistent data makes it difficult to establish a basic understanding of the prevalence of problems related to poverty, the availability and use of services, as well as the effectiveness of services all of which impact funding allocations to rural communities.

    Efforts to ameliorate rural poverty have not been as successful as originally hoped, but they have generated knowledge and useful lessons for future efforts. In a 2006 report, researchers suggested that, in addition to employment-readiness activities, economic development initiatives such as wage subsidies, tax credits, low interest employer loans, community improvement projects, etc. may also improve the number and quality of jobs in rural communities. Similarly, the challenges of transportation and child care in rural areas likely require systemic efforts to increase their supply, reliability, and quality. Improvement efforts would require significant investments—not only to fortify existing services—but also strengthen the leadership capacity of rural communities to better align resources and spur regional improvements.

    Delivering services to rural populations to help them transition from poverty to economic opportunity is challenging but not impossible. Many of the barriers to self-sufficiency in rural areas are systemic, pervasive, and persistent. However, strong leadership, committed sustainable cross-sector partnerships, investments in professional development of staff, and attention to data collection and overall effectiveness will help to better prepare rural Americans for the future.

    The SSRC library contains numerous resources and evaluations related to rural poverty, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to the SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more.

  • Individual Author: Wright, Nicole
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2017

    Posted by Nicole Wright, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Reliable transportation has long been considered an integral part of achieving economic self-sufficiency. The advent of urban sprawl and the movement of high-demand jobs and growing job sectors into suburban areas has made access to affordable public and private transportation a critical element of finding, attaining, and retaining jobs. Affordability and access issues across transportation types, both public and private (car ownership), have been associated with financial and commuting time burdens that are prohibitive for very low-income families, including paying for gas, insurance, and car maintenance and/or long public transit waits, cumbersome and time-consuming...

    Posted by Nicole Wright, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Reliable transportation has long been considered an integral part of achieving economic self-sufficiency. The advent of urban sprawl and the movement of high-demand jobs and growing job sectors into suburban areas has made access to affordable public and private transportation a critical element of finding, attaining, and retaining jobs. Affordability and access issues across transportation types, both public and private (car ownership), have been associated with financial and commuting time burdens that are prohibitive for very low-income families, including paying for gas, insurance, and car maintenance and/or long public transit waits, cumbersome and time-consuming transfers, and infrequent service during off-peak hours. Research has shown that upward mobility is in fact higher in cities with “less sprawl, as measured by commute times to work.” Conversely, “areas with greater economic and racial segregation, which might make job searches and commuting more difficult for residents of poor regions” tend to have lower income mobility. For this reason, research, practice, and policy in this field have largely centered on helping families overcome these barriers.  

    One of the key trends in transportation research is the study of spatial mismatch and how to overcome it. Although the spatial mismatch hypothesis was first proposed in the late 1960s, it continues to be relevant to policy and practice today. It originally posited that “serious limitations on black residential choice, combined with the steady dispersal of jobs from central cities, are responsible for the low rates of employment and low earnings of African-American workers.” In the context of transportation, this means that the geographic distance between low-income households and where employment opportunities are available must be bridged by affordable transportation options for individuals to have a means of retaining steady employment. This is especially true in light of a 2012 study that found that the “suburbanization of jobs” prevents transit from connecting workers to opportunity in local labor pools. The study ultimately found that the “typical job” is accessible to only 27 percent of a metropolitan workforce in 90 minutes or less via transit.

    Efforts to mitigate spatial mismatch through policy and practice have led to a debate between public and private transit solutions. Many studies have framed this discussion as one of public transportation access programs versus car ownership programs. Multiple studies have suggested car ownership as the more effective option. This is likely, in part, due to the increasing need for individuals living in urban centers to make a “reverse commute.” The reverse commute, defined as the commute from inner city residential locations to employment opportunities found in the suburbs, often requires private transportation due to a lack of public transportation in suburban areas. However, not all research has shown benefits to car ownership programs. A 2015 study found that although improving automobile access is associated with a decreased probability of future unemployment and greater income gains, the costs of owning and maintaining a car may be greater than the associated gains in income.

    Despite the difficulty many people have accessing and affording reliable transportation, one 2014 study, Getting around when you’re just getting by: Transportation survival strategies of the poor, reveals certain “survival strategies” used by low-income families to manage the expense. The authors found that most low-income households are concerned about transportation expenditure, and as a result, carefully evaluate the cost of travel against the benefits of each possible mode of transportation. These strategies include: modifications to travel behavior, cost-covering strategies, careful management of household expenditures, and reductions in discretionary spending. This study concluded that many of these strategies create additional hardship for low-income families. The findings serve to highlight the importance of helping families access transportation that not only bridges the gap to needed services and employment opportunities, but also fits the unique situation of each family. Other studies such as this one have repeatedly shown how crucial transportation access is to self-sufficiency. It is an issue that continues to grow in importance and a barrier that must be broken to create paths out of poverty for families across the country.

    Learn More About Transportation From the SSRC- The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse library contains numerous articles, reports, and stakeholder resources on transportation and its links to self-sufficiency, including: 

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more. 

  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Martinson, Karin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    This report documents the implementation and early impacts of the Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry program, designed by the San Diego Workforce Partnership and operated by three community-based organizations in San Diego County, California. Bridge to Employment is one promising effort to help low-income, low-skilled adults access and complete occupational training that can lead to increased employment and higher earnings. It is one of nine career pathways programs being evaluated under the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families. The Bridge to Employment program consisted of five components: (1) Assessments to determine eligibility for training programs; (2) Navigation and case management services to help students choose their training and address barriers to participation; (3) Individual training account (ITA) vouchers to cover the cost of training; (4) Supportive services for transportation, child care, and other services; and (5) Employment services to help participants find employment...

    This report documents the implementation and early impacts of the Bridge to Employment in the Healthcare Industry program, designed by the San Diego Workforce Partnership and operated by three community-based organizations in San Diego County, California. Bridge to Employment is one promising effort to help low-income, low-skilled adults access and complete occupational training that can lead to increased employment and higher earnings. It is one of nine career pathways programs being evaluated under the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families. The Bridge to Employment program consisted of five components: (1) Assessments to determine eligibility for training programs; (2) Navigation and case management services to help students choose their training and address barriers to participation; (3) Individual training account (ITA) vouchers to cover the cost of training; (4) Supportive services for transportation, child care, and other services; and (5) Employment services to help participants find employment after training. Using a rigorous research design, the study found that Bridge to Employment increased the credentials its participants received and increased employment in a healthcare occupation within the 18-month follow-up period. Future reports will examine whether these effects translate into economic gains in the workplace in the longer term. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Martin, Erica
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2016

    Domestic violence is a vast social problem of considerable importance in the United States. It is more than a social problem; it is an economic problem as well due to the loss of productivity from abused victims. Based on a review of prior literature, a gap has been identified where virtually no spatial analysis has estimated accessibility or spatial matching of resources for victims of domestic violence. Accordingly, this paper will focus on analyzing if there is a spatial mismatch occurring between shelter resources and domestic violence victims, analyzing accessibility to these resources for victims, and on measuring the total cost or efficiency loss due to mismatches that are occurring.

    Strong links exist between rates of domestic violence and poverty, when combined with the shifting of the geography of poverty over the past decade, raises the question of whether resources are located efficiently and equitably to those in need. Since shelter locations are immobile it is important to analyze their distribution, especially since they place a key role in the outcomes for...

    Domestic violence is a vast social problem of considerable importance in the United States. It is more than a social problem; it is an economic problem as well due to the loss of productivity from abused victims. Based on a review of prior literature, a gap has been identified where virtually no spatial analysis has estimated accessibility or spatial matching of resources for victims of domestic violence. Accordingly, this paper will focus on analyzing if there is a spatial mismatch occurring between shelter resources and domestic violence victims, analyzing accessibility to these resources for victims, and on measuring the total cost or efficiency loss due to mismatches that are occurring.

    Strong links exist between rates of domestic violence and poverty, when combined with the shifting of the geography of poverty over the past decade, raises the question of whether resources are located efficiently and equitably to those in need. Since shelter locations are immobile it is important to analyze their distribution, especially since they place a key role in the outcomes for victims and in reducing costs associated with domestic violence.

    This research combines knowledge in economics with spatial analysis and Geographic Information System (GIS) capabilities, and offers an improved understanding of this contemporary social problem. Improved methodologies such as the Enhanced Two-Step Floating Catchment Area method as well as other spatial tools bring new insights to the issue. The policy implications can potentially improve the distribution of resources for domestic violence victims as well as guide public policy decisions regarding shelter placement and other social welfare resources. (Author abstract)

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