Nonmetro areas have had a higher rate of poverty than metro areas since the 1960s (when poverty rates were first officially recorded). Over time, however, the difference between nonmetro and metro poverty rates has generally narrowed, falling from an average difference of 4.5 percentage points in the 1980s to a record low of 1.6 percentage points in 2010. In 2012, the nonmetro poverty rate ticked up to 17.7 percent, while the metro rate dropped slightly to 14.5 percent. The current nonmetro poverty rate is at its highest since 1986.
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