Human Capital and Poverty in Rural America.Report as inadecuate

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Current welfare reform efforts are based on the assumption that limiting government support will promote personal responsibility, driving welfare recipients to obtain additional education and training in order to meet employment targets. But is education and training--human capital--the answer to poverty and welfare dependency, especially in rural areas? The position is taken that the fundamental problem resides in low wages and inadequate employment opportunities found in rural America, especially among young adults, minorities, women, and the least educated. Rural poverty results from shortages of good jobs rather than shortages of good workers. This paper presents 13 data tables and figures in support of this position. Tables present poverty rates by education level and race, 1991; metropolitan and nonmetropolitan educational attainment, 1971-91; percentage of low earners in rural and urban labor force by educational attainment, 1979 and 1987; metro and nonmetro dropouts by race/ethnic group, 1981-91; and Scholastic Aptitude Test scores by rural-urban location, 1988-1989. Bar graphs and other figures depict crude and adjusted poverty rates among nonmetro children in female-headed and married-couple families, 1960-90; literacy scores for metro and nonmetro adults; nonmetro net migration by education; formal job training programs for metro and nonmetro workers; amounts of education and experience attained and required for nonmetro jobs; and rates of adequate employment by education in major nonmetro industries. At each level of employment within a particular industrial category, women are underutilized with respect to their education. (SV)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Adult Literacy, Dropouts, Education Work Relationship, Educational Attainment, Employment, Graphs, Human Capital, Poverty, Racial Differences, Rural Areas, Rural Urban Differences, Tables (Data), Welfare Reform

Author: Lichter, Daniel


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