Rural Poverty Fifty Years after The People Left Behind: An Unfinished Legacy Bruce Weber (Oregon State University and RUPRI) Tracey Farrigan (USDA Economic Research Service) Amy Glasmeier (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Chloe Gagin (USDA Economic Research Service) Rural Poverty Research Conference Washington DC May 21-22, 2018 Overview Rediscovering rural poverty: The People Left Behind (1967)

Background Findings and Recommendations The geography of poverty in 1960s Are rural people and places still left behind? This research conference: review what has changed/been learned since 1967 support development of a rural poverty research agenda going forward Rediscovering poverty Kenneth Galbraiths Affluent Society (1958) identified new poverty: case poverty and insular poverty as different from earlier generalized poverty

the modern locus of poverty is even more the rural poverty than the urban slum (p. 252). argued that general economic growth did not and would not automatically trickle down to the poor; called for investments in both people and places. In rural slums, Identifying a land use consistent with a satisfactory standard of living, and assisting with the necessary reorganization of land and capital 3 Rediscovering Poverty Michael Harringtons The Other America (1962) Built on Galbraiths framework of new poverty In discussing rural poverty, mostly focused on farm poverty and farm workers and on the rural-to-urban

migrants unprepared to urban life, and not on the nonfarm rural poor.) Called for Federal funding in physical investments (e.g. housing) but also social supports, medical care, end of racial discrimination A review of this book caught Kennedys attention and is credited with stimulating his poverty interest 4 War on Poverty President Johnson declared War on Poverty in his first State of the Union address in 1964 Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 created the Office of Economic Opportunity to (among other things) build youth programs and initiate local

community action programs (CAPs) with maximum feasible participation of the poor War on Poverty had been going on for three years when The People Left Behind released in 1967. Concerns with CAPs were beginning to emerge 5 The People Left Behind Presidents National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty created in September 1966 to Make a comprehensive study and appraisal of the current economic situations and trends in American rural life, as they relate to the income and community problems of rural areas, including

problems of low income and many other issues Evaluate how existing programs and activities related to the economic status of rural people can be better coordinated/redirected to eliminate rural underemployment and low income 6 The People Left Behind (PLB) Develop recommendations for action by local, state and Federal governments and private sector to provide opportunities for rural people The Commission issued its report The People Left Behind in September 1967 Report was developed in an era in which

policymakers believed the nation had the resources and duty to eliminate poverty: abolition of rural poverty is completely feasible 7 PLB Findings: 2 chapters 14 million rural* Americans were poor in 1965 Rural people = 41 % of U.S. poor Rural poverty rate = 25 percent (twice the urban poverty rate of 12 percent) Rural poor are 75% nonfarm though farm poverty rates (29.3 %) higher

~80 % white though nonwhite poverty rates (~60 %) higher * Census rural: living on farms, in open country and towns of 2500 or less [not nonmetro] 8 PLB Findings (2) Rural poverty exists all over country, though is concentrated in regions (South, Southwest, Indian reservations, upper Great Plains) Extensive hunger, disease, premature death High unemployment and underemployment Poor schools and housing Depressed rural communities without local

government capacity Migration of rural poor to urban slums => need for coordinated attack on both urban and rural poverty 9 PLB Recommendations: 12 chapters First task: Creating a Favorable Economic Environment (well-paid jobs for all) (Full employment, guaranteed employment, minimum wage, end to racial/ locational discrimination) 5 chapters on investments in people (Manpower programs, Education, Health/

medical care, Family planning, Safety Net) 10 PLB Recommendations (2) 4 chapters on investments in places (rural housing, area/regional development, community organizations (esp., coordination between OEO CAPs & USDA TAPs), and natural resource/conservation projects 2 chapters on redesigning institutions (updating farm and natural resource policy to benefit poor; changes in local, state and Federal government administration) 11

The People Left Behind Some unique features of the 1967 report: First report to focus on nonfarm rural poverty Recommended not just new programs but changes in underlying social institutions (racial discrimination) and economic rights (guaranteed employment*) Underscored links with urban poverty Focused on the broad dimensions of rural wellbeing (not just income poverty): five-factor index * a job for every rural person willing and able to work 12 Economic Status of Rural Population by Counties Update of ERS Map

as appears in The People Left Behind Report, 1967 Tracey Farrigan, Amy Glasmeier, Chloe Gagin RUPRI Research Conference March 21-22, 2018 Washington, DC The views expressed are those of the author(s) and should not be attributed to the Economic Research Service or USDA Defining and Mapping Poverty in the 1960s Demand: Johnsons Great Society legislative agenda, mid-1960s; Office of Economic Opportunity to administer War on Poverty Programs

Approach: relative measures of spatial poverty Absence and ongoing development of official poverty measure and popularity of $3000 family income threshold Understanding of poverty as a multidimensional construct and related perspective of policy to alleviate poverty 1966, Bureau of the Census created a five-factor index to identify concentrations of poverty, Poverty Areas, within large metro areas

1967-1972, Series of Census Current Population Reports on metropolitan poverty areas Poverty Area Research at ERS in the 1960s 1960, U.S. counties ranked according to a five Factor Index of the relative poverty status of their rural population. Unpublished data. 1964, Poverty in rural areas of the United States, Agricultural Economic Report #63, Alan Bird

1965, Urban and rural levels of living, 1960. Agricultural Economic Report #79, James Cowhig. 1967, White Americans in rural poverty. Agricultural Economic Report #124, Alan Bird and John McCoy. 1967, Economic status of rural population by counties, 1960. Map published in The People Left Behind, The Presidents National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty.

Reproduction of 1960 Composite Index Map Dependency ratio Education less than 12 years Family income less than $3000 (percent and count) Sound housing w/less than full plumbing, deteriorating, or dilapidated Rural defined as all land/population outside of urban areas Dependency ratio Education less than 7 years

Family income less than $3000 (percent and count) Dilapidated housing Original 1967 Report Map 2016 Composite Index Map Persistently low status: Appalachia, Mississippi Delta, Border Region, Native America Improved status: Midwest Declined status: Southwest and Western areas with concentrations of Native American and growing Hispanic populations

Index Updated to Present 2010 rural geography 2012-2016 (ACS) data Same index methodology as 1960, therefore low economic status is relative to current conditions 20% of all counties fall into lowest 5th Difference in Select Factor Values Some influential factors of poverty are constant, while others exit and enter in

relevance over time. There is always a 'factor' that replaces another in defining poverty, whether by virtue of the success of specific poverty reduction efforts or mere societal change, in that way poverty always exists. 2016 Composite Index Map 2016, Baseline 1960 1960 rural geography 2012-2016 (ACS) data 1960 index values used to determine low to high economic status In 2016, 4.2% of all counties had

low economic status, compared to 20% in 1960 Comparing economic status of rural populations in 1960 to present, using 1960 baseline conditions, suggests vast improvement. Areas of engrained poverty remain, but they are not as widespread. 2016 Composite Index Map Changes in Status 1960 - 2016 84 Counties that had the lowest economic status

among the rural population in 1960, remained as such in 2016 Among total counties: 2.8% remained lowest 18.6% remained highest 73.7% improved status 4.9% declined in status Economic status improved for the rural population in the majority of counties. Many rural areas in historically persistently poor counties continue to have low economic status and remain left behind.

Discussion Points Failing to account for changes in rural to urban (or nonmetro to metro) designation masks improvement in rural conditions. Rural poverty today can be generally characterized as relative, not absolute as was more the norm in the past. While the economic status of rural populations has increased over time, there are rural places that continue to be left behind. How we characterize and therefore measure rural poverty has to change with the times. The sense of urgency in 1960s The People Left Behind: The time for action is now (1967, p. 9) Harrington, The Other America: After one reads the facts, either there are anger and

shame, or there are not. .If this anger and shame are not forthcoming, someone can write a book about the other America a generation from now and it will be the same or worse. (1962, p. 156) What is needed in 2010s Much progress has been made, but there are still rural people and places left behind We need to know what works and what doesnt to reduce poverty in these places Our long - term goal to stimulate rigorous applied research that generates new knowledge and policy and program innovations that improve economic

opportunity and reduce poverty in rural communities 23 Our hopes for this conference We hope this conference will yield A sense of what we know about causes and consequences of rural poverty and An understanding of what are the most pressing under-researched issues for the future research agenda Commitments from established and emerging scholars to help develop a policy/practicedirected rural poverty research agenda 24

The mapping and definitional work is part of an ongoing ERS research project: The (Un)changing Map of Rural Poverty in collaboration with MIT Examines the 20th-21st century history and changing geography of rural poverty, and how the latter is influenced by measurement and policy decisions Tracey Farrigan USDA Economic Research Service [email protected] Amy Glasmeier Massachusetts Institute of Technology [email protected] Gloria (Chloe) Gagin USDA Economic Research Service

[email protected] Contact: Bruce Weber Professor Emeritus of Applied Economics at Oregon State University Senior Economist at Rural Policy Research Institute at University of Iowa Ballard Extension Hall 240G Department of Applied Economics Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331-3601 [email protected] ; 27

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