Study: Rural Poor Often Segregated In High-Poverty Areas
Media Contact:  Amy Sterndale
Carsey Institute

Beth Potier
UNH Media Relations
November 19, 2008

Reporters and editors: Dan Lichter can be reached at 607-254-8781 or Dominic "Mimmo" Parisi can be reached at 662-325-8065 or

DURHAM, N.H. - One-half of rural poor are segregated in high-poverty areas, finds a new policy brief co-published by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire and Rural Realities, a publication of the Rural Sociological Society. The brief, "Concentrated Rural Poverty and the Geography of Exclusion," highlights the challenges faced by America's rural poor, particularly as they are physically and socially isolated from middle-class communities that might offer economic opportunities.

"When they are segregated in high-poverty areas, rural poor are doubly disadvantaged: They have many unmet needs but live in communities lacking the resources to meet them," says Carsey Institute senior fellow Daniel Lichter, who co-authored the report with Domenico Parisi, director of the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University. Lichter is also Ferris Family Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University.

Rates of segregation between poor and non-poor are particularly high among rural racial minorities. Three-fourths of rural blacks and two-thirds of rural Hispanics are segregated from America's more affluent, largely white populations.

The authors present a number of policy strategies, including the need for affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods, reducing housing discrimination, and promoting place-based solutions to poverty and low income.

The full brief, which is based on a paper by the authors and published in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, can be downloaded at

Rural Realitiesis a publication of the Rural Sociological Society (RSS). Its purpose is to provide valuable insights on the current and emerging issues impacting people and places in rural America and beyond, and to offer policy and program options that might prove effective in addressing important rural challenges and opportunities. Articles showcased in the series draw upon high quality social sciences-based studies conducted by researchers and practitioners located within universities/colleges, government, philanthropic, and nonprofit organizations.

The Carsey Institute conducts policy research on vulnerable children, youth, and families and on sustainable community development. We give policy makers and practitioners the timely, independent resources they need to effect change in their communities.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a New England liberal arts college and a major research university with a strong focus on undergraduate-oriented research. A land, sea and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 11,800 undergraduate and 2,400 graduate students.