This report discusses the findings of a study that explored the role of “place” in shaping rural residents’—and in particular low-income residents’—futures. The analysis draws from interviews with residents and community key informants in Hampton, Iowa, who were participants in an original study in 1997. Recent interviews with community key informants focused on three broad trends: the increasing number of Hispanic families who live in Hampton year-round and the opportunities and challenges this creates for the community; the loss of many skilled jobs in manufacturing and the growth of low-wage jobs in the agricultural sector; and changes that have occurred in the public and community-based institutions that serve the needs of low-income families. The case study draws on city and county demographic and economic data, interviews with community key and economic data, interviews with community key informants, and interviews with four families who have been part of the study since 1997. Their life stories illustrate how a set of opportunities and barriers intersect with the experience of low-income families in rural settings, including: limited access to and support for postsecondary education, a weakened labor market, and a lack of specialized community-based programs for those with disabilities. The case study concludes with questions for the community and scholars working collaboratively to understand rural poverty and future directions for community and family development. 1 figure, 1 table, and 4 references. (Author abstract modified)
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Understanding Connections Between Rural Communities and Family Well-Being. A Study of Hampton, Iowa.