Youth Perspectives on Poverty, Inequality, and Opportunity in Rural and Urban America

Awarded Scholars:
Erika M. Kitzmiller, Columbia University
Project Date:
Dec 2019
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

Few researchers have examined the perspectives of youth regarding what they think government should do about reducing poverty and inequality, promoting opportunity and other issues that are important to them. This is particularly true for low-income youth and those who reside in rural America. Educational historian Erika Kitzmiller will examine how youth from different racial, gender, and class categories in rural and urban contexts understand poverty, inequality, and opportunity in their lives and communities and the role that they believe government should play in addressing these challenges. The ethnographic study focuses on three sites in Pennsylvania that represent distinct political viewpoints and diverse demographics: 1) a town of 20,000 in a rural county, where 72 percent of voters chose the Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election; 2) a small rural town of 1,000 located in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, where 84 percent of voters chose the Republican candidate; and 3) a large and racially diverse city in the state with one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the country, where only 15 percent of voters chose the Republican candidate.



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