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Rural, Minority Children at Disadvantage in Oregon, Study Says

Children born to rural or minority families are more likely to live in poverty and less likely to experience upward mobility than their non-minority and urban peers, according to a recent study reported by The Oregonian.

The nonprofit Children First for Oregon examined how children in the state fare economically depending on where they live, their parents' level of education, and racial and ethnic background. The report found that white children in the Portland-metro area have the lowest poverty levels and live in homes with the highest household incomes. White children in more rural areas and children of color lived in lower-income households and were more likely to live in poverty. The report also found that the majority of the state's high-wage jobs are concentrated in three counties in Oregon, which are all located near the Portland metro area. That means parents living in rural Oregon are more likely to have low-wage jobs, which the report's authors said can negatively impact the economic opportunity for their children.

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Nationwide, rural child poverty has been rising according to a USDA report released earlier this year. As of 2013, more than one in four rural children lived in poverty, a 7 percentage point increase from 1999. The report found that child poverty has especially increased in counties where job opportunities have declined, and also found that rural counties with high minority populations have higher-than-average child poverty rates. Children in rural areas are more dependent on public health insurance and more likely to rely on food stamps than their urban peers. 

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