Nearly 7,500 residents of Morgan County live in poverty, 3,000 of which are children. More than ten percent of the population of Morgan County; significantly higher than the poverty rates in surrounding rural counties.
For those who are living in poverty, rural areas pose a series of seemingly inescapable problems, as living in rural areas can severely limit access to the programs and services that are intended to support those in need. These limitations include poor access to transportation and broadband services, long distances to food distribution centers, government and non-government agencies, limited access to healthcare, mental health, child welfare and family services, as well as fewer job opportunities. For the rural elderly and single-parent households living in poverty, poor transportation and long distances may even be insurmountable barriers cutting off government and non-government support.
Consequently, escaping the cycle of poverty in rural areas can be more challenging, with the economic and social restrictions listed above. Rural communities are thus at risk of longer-lasting or persistent poverty and slow recovery.