Spatial variations in us poverty: Beyond metropolitan and non-metropolitan

Man Wang, Rachel Garshick Kleit, Jane Cover, Christopher S. Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Because poverty in rural and urban areas of the US often has different causes, correlates and solutions, effective anti-poverty policies depend on a thorough understanding of the ruralness or urbanness of specific places. This paper compares several widely used classification schemes and the varying magnitudes of poverty that they reveal in the US. The commonly used 'metropolitan/non-metropolitan' distinction obscures important socioeconomic differences among metropolitan areas, making our understanding of the geography of poverty imprecise. Given the number and concentration of poor people living in mixed-rural and rural counties in metropolitan regions, researchers and policy-makers need to pay more nuanced attention to the opportunities and constraints such individuals face. A cross-classification of the Office of Management and Budget's metro system with a nuanced RUDC scheme is the most effective for revealing the geographical complexities of poverty within metropolitan areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-585
Number of pages23
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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