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Programs that Focus on Improving Economic Stability

Economic stability allows people the ability to access resources essential to life, including financial resources, quality housing and food, and a job that provides a stable, living wage. According to the Healthy People 2020 social determinants of health (SDOH) organizing framework, factors that affect economic stability include:

  • Employment and work environment
  • Food access to address food insecurity
  • Affordable housing
  • Access to transportation
  • Income/poverty and financial resources

Important indicators of economic instability in rural areas include unemployment rates, housing and food insecurity, and poverty rates. In 2018, the nonmetro unemployment rate was 4.2% compared to 3.9% in metro areas. Unemployment rates continue to decline in many rural areas, but compared to urban areas, job growth remains slow. Rural poverty rates are also declining but are still higher when compared with urban areas, with a recent nonmetro poverty rate of 16.4% compared to a metro poverty rate of 12.9%.

This toolkit describes 5 types of models and approaches for improving economic stability to address rural SDOH: