In Oklahoma, Poverty Has Several Causes

Aug 16, 2016


A Tulsa World story about rural poverty in Oklahoma has been garnering a good deal of attention over the past week and a half. Nationwide, poverty is more of an issue for rural dwellers than urban Americans.

Fifteen percent of the rural U.S. population lives in poverty, compared to 12 percent of the urban population.

The story named three causes for rural poverty in Oklahoma. First, a lack of amenities. Young people who can afford to move away often do, in search of more entertainment than a small town offers. This deprives rural areas of the type of residents that attract investors. Second: isolation. The distance from job opportunities makes it difficult for rural residents to find work. And third, social norms. Ingrained rural pessimism can keep young people from striving to end the cycle of poverty.