Barriers to Employment Among Low-Income Mothers in Rural United States Communities

Son, Seo-Hee;Dyk, Patricia Hyjer;Bauer, Jean W.;Katras, Mary Jo

  • Received : 2011.03.23
  • Accepted : 2011.06.15
  • Published : 2011.06.30


This article addresses potential barriers to sustained employment for rural low-income mothers. Drawing from a two panel longitudinal sample of 240 families from the Rural Families Speak project, it examines the extent to which human capital and family factors were related to these mothers' ability to be employed. Comparisons are made between mothers, who over a three-year period, were continuously unemployed, intermittently employed, or stably employed. Many of these rural low-income mothers faced multiple individual and family barriers that impacted their labor force participation. Notably food insecurity, mental health, caring for a young child, housing, and a family history of welfare were associated with less stable employment. The implications for public policy and service delivery are discussed.


employment;employment barrier;low-income;rural


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