Making ends meet: The role of community assets in the livelihood strategies of low-income rural households
The goal of this project is to increase the prosperity of the rural poor and rural communities by identifying the impact of community-level assets on household-level livelihood strategies in the face poverty and economic uncertainty. An integrated, mixed-methods (MM) research approach will be used to address the study’s research objectives. National level analysis will be based on data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to compare the livelihood strategies and outcomes of the rural poor in Indiana to the U.S. as a whole.
A comparative case study, including community surveys, interviews, and focus groups, of three rural Indiana communities will enable an improved understanding of how both community- and household-level characteristics influence the adoption and efficacy of various household-level livelihood strategies. These combined methods will allow us to assess how the use and combination of various livelihood strategies impacts the poverty status and material hardship of the rural poor, and draw important policy lessons regarding how the U.S. social safety net impacts the ability of the rural poor to respond to economic adversity.
This project is aligned with the AFRI goals to promote economically and socially sustainable, resilient rural communities. We believe that the well-being of rural communities and resilience of rural households requires a comprehensive understanding of the factors associated with both poverty and livelihood strategies. Additionally, efficacious and comprehensive poverty-reduction policy necessitates a better, more nuanced understanding of how rural households are already coping with poverty and what community assets are most effective at supporting them.
- Emily Wornell, Ball State University, Project Director
- Bruce Weber, Oregon State University
- Paul Lewin, University of Idaho