Rural Economy

(Selected research findings from Fiscal Year 2019)

EBT Card with a grocery cart full of vegetables fruit as backdropSNAP redemptions have impacts on county-level employment.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the third-largest means-tested Federal program (in terms of outlays) and the largest USDA program.  Payments nearly quadrupled between 2001 and 2013, in part due to changes in policies intended to stimulate the economy during and after the Great Recession. An ERS report examined the impact on county-level employment that may have occurred as a result of the increase in payments. Over the entire 2001 to 2014 study period, SNAP redemptions had a positive average estimated impact on county-level employment in non-metro counties, but no measurable impact in metro counties. During the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath (2008 to 2010), SNAP redemptions had a positive impact on employment in both metro and nonmetro counties, though the impacts per dollar spent were larger in nonmetro counties. During the recession, the impacts of SNAP were larger per dollar spent than the impacts of all other Federal and State government transfer payments combined.

An Ipad surrounded by a white keyboard, a white mouse, and a stethoscope

Rural residents were less likely than urban residents to take part in any of three fundamental telehealth activities.

More than traditional medical delivery systems, telehealth—i.e., health services and activities conducted via the Internet—allows people to actively participate in their health care and facilitates more timely and convenient monitoring of ongoing conditions. These benefits may be greater in rural areas, where remoteness and provider shortages may complicate access to health care for rural residents. ERS researchers analyzed three telehealth activities as practiced by consumers 15 years of age or older: (1) online health research; (2) online health maintenance (i.e., contacting providers, maintaining records, and paying bills); and (3) online health monitoring (the transmission of data gathered by remote medical devices to medical personnel).