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Abstract

Update of an annual series, the 2009 edition of Rural America At A Glance deals with effects of the major recession on rural America. Initially, effects of the recession were mitigated in nonmetro areas by high commodity prices throughout much of 2008, but as the recession deepened, prices fell. Both nonmetro and metro areas experienced rising unemployment as manufacturing and other major employment sectors contracted, and they were similarly affected by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. However, even before the current recession, nonmetro poverty rates had risen in the growth years after the 2001 recession, against the usual trend during a time of economic expansion; the nonmetro poverty rate has exceeded the national poverty rate since 2001. The nonmetro population continued to grow in 2007 and 2008, but at less than half the rate of the metro population. Nonmetro growth is largely due to a rise in births, offsetting a decline in net migration from metro to nonmetro areas.

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