Faculty & Research

Recent Publications - Chapters

Children Living in Rural Poverty: The Role of Chaos in Early Development

Vernon, Feagans., Garrett-Peters, P., De Marco, A., & Bratsch-Hines, M.
In V. Maholmes & R. King (Eds.). (2012). The Oxford handbook of poverty and child development (pp. 448-466).
New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199769100.013.0025

Link to Full Text

Children who live in poor rural communities have a somewhat different context for development from urban children. Rural in comparison to urban communities have higher poverty rates; greater isolation from key services, such as schools and health care; and parents have more service related jobs with nonstandard work schedules. These factors are associated with poverty but also can add additional stress on rural family life that can contribute to more chaotic living conditions for young children, including disorganization, instability, and unpredictability. This chapter reviews the literature and presents data to support the view that chaos in rural communities may be greater than in urban areas and may be a particularly important mediator of the relationship between poverty and children's development. Data are presented from the Family Life Project to further support the link between poverty, chaos, and children's early development.