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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 includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

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: 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: 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: Blumenberg, Evelyn; Pierce, Gregory
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2016

    Transportation enables low-income individuals to find and travel to employment. This article analyzes the relationship between access to automobiles and public transit and employment outcomes of low-income households. We use longitudinal survey data from participants in the Welfare to Work Voucher Program, which was conducted in five US metropolitan areas between 1999 and 2005. Multinomial logistic regression shows that baseline access to automobiles has a strong positive relationship to follow-up employment but public transit access and receipt of housing assistance do not. Our findings suggest that enhancing car access will notably improve employment outcomes among very-low-income adults, but other assistance will have, at best, marginal effects. (author abstract)

    Transportation enables low-income individuals to find and travel to employment. This article analyzes the relationship between access to automobiles and public transit and employment outcomes of low-income households. We use longitudinal survey data from participants in the Welfare to Work Voucher Program, which was conducted in five US metropolitan areas between 1999 and 2005. Multinomial logistic regression shows that baseline access to automobiles has a strong positive relationship to follow-up employment but public transit access and receipt of housing assistance do not. Our findings suggest that enhancing car access will notably improve employment outcomes among very-low-income adults, but other assistance will have, at best, marginal effects. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Blumenberg, Evelyn; Pierce, Gregory; Smart, Michael
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2015

    Access to automobiles may be particularly important to housing voucher recipients, who are more likely than residents of public housing to live in suburban neighborhoods where transit service is often limited. Access to high-quality public transit is more likely to benefit low-income households who live in dense central-city neighborhoods in close proximity to employment. In this analysis we draw on survey data from two housing voucher experiments—the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing and Welfare-to-Work Voucher programs—to examine the relationship between access to automobiles and public transit and the employment and earnings outcomes of program participants.

    Our research underscores the importance of automobiles in achieving desirable outcomes for families who receive subsidized housing. Access to automobiles is associated with improved economic outcomes for all program participants and better facilitates job acquisition, job retention, and earnings than public transit. Our findings suggest the need to better link housing and transportation programs and to pursue a...

    Access to automobiles may be particularly important to housing voucher recipients, who are more likely than residents of public housing to live in suburban neighborhoods where transit service is often limited. Access to high-quality public transit is more likely to benefit low-income households who live in dense central-city neighborhoods in close proximity to employment. In this analysis we draw on survey data from two housing voucher experiments—the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing and Welfare-to-Work Voucher programs—to examine the relationship between access to automobiles and public transit and the employment and earnings outcomes of program participants.

    Our research underscores the importance of automobiles in achieving desirable outcomes for families who receive subsidized housing. Access to automobiles is associated with improved economic outcomes for all program participants and better facilitates job acquisition, job retention, and earnings than public transit. Our findings suggest the need to better link housing and transportation programs and to pursue a set of policies that increase automobile access among all subsidized housing recipients. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pendall, Rolf; Hayes, Christopher; George, Arthur ; McDade, Zach; Dawkins, Casey; Jeon, Jae Sik; Knaap, Eli; Blumenberg, Evelyn; Pierce, Gregory; Smart, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsored two major experiments to test whether housing choice vouchers propelled low-income households into greater economic security, the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing program (MTO) and the Welfare to Work Voucher program (WTW). Using data from these programs, this study examines differences in residential location and employment outcomes between voucher recipients with access to automobiles and those without. Overall, the findings underscore the positive role of automobiles in outcomes for housing voucher participants. (author abstract)

    In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsored two major experiments to test whether housing choice vouchers propelled low-income households into greater economic security, the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing program (MTO) and the Welfare to Work Voucher program (WTW). Using data from these programs, this study examines differences in residential location and employment outcomes between voucher recipients with access to automobiles and those without. Overall, the findings underscore the positive role of automobiles in outcomes for housing voucher participants. (author abstract)

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