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Rural Families and Work-Family Issues
Sloan Work and Family Encyclopedia (2008)
  • Lisa R Pruitt, University of California, Davis

This essay, an entry for the on-line Sloan Work and Family Encyclopedia, provides an overview of work-family challenges in the context of rural America. Among the issues addressed are lack of economic diversification and opportunity; deficits in human capital; the dearth of childcare, transportation and other services that facilitate employment; and the deeply entrenched character of gender roles in rural societies. The entry discusses not only concerns related to rural socioeconomic disadvantage, but also those arising from the distances that separate rural residents from work, educational opportunities, and services. The essay notes that rural families are sometimes disserved by policies and regulations that reflect urban agendas and may be unworkable for rural residents, in the context of rural economies. It suggests the need for more systematic, national sampling and a case-comparative approach to location-based studies. Such data collection and analysis would permit generalization across rural places, while also enhancing our understanding of the variety among such communities.

  • rural,
  • gender,
  • family,
  • work,
  • employment,
  • informal economy,
  • microbusiness,
  • children,
  • child care,
  • rural poverty,
  • transportation
Publication Date
Citation Information
Rural Families, entry in SLOAN WORK AND FAMILY ENCYCLOPEDIA (2008). Available at: