In 2004, New York was ranked 26 out of 48 in terms of children in rural levels living in poverty (1 being the best and 48 being the worst). 18% of rural New York children were found to be living in poverty at this time. New York Ranked 33rd for “Children Living with a Single Parent” in 2004, with 27% of rural children living in single parent households. New York was ranked 17th in “Children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment” with 30% of children having no parent with year-round employment. 14 percent of New York children live “with a household head who is a high school dropout”, ranked 17/48. New York was ranked 40 for “Of children in low-income families, the share spending 30% or more of income on housing” with 58% and 13 for “Children without a telephone at home” (3%). New York was 35th for “Children without a vehicle at home”, 12th for “Children who have difficulty speaking English (ages 5–17)”, 21st for “Teens who are high school dropouts (ages 16–19)”, and 21st for “Teens not attending school and not working (ages 16–19)”.
The 2004 report also ranked the 50 largest cities in the United States for the same criteria. New York City was found to be 34th for “Children living in poverty”, 33rd for “Children living in single-parent families”, 34th for “Children living in single-parent families”, 37th for “Children living with a household head who is a high school dropout”, 47th for “Of children in low-income families, the share spending 30% or more of income on housing”, 19th for “Children without a telephone at home”, 50th for ”Children without a vehicle at home”, 36th for “Children who have difficulty speaking English (ages 5–17)”, 12th for “Teens who are high school dropouts (ages 16–19)”, and 31st for “Teens not attending school and not working (ages 16–19)”.
There were many similarities shared by rural and urban children in New York. New York City had high rankings in all categories with the exception of “Teens who are high school dropouts (ages 16–19)” and ”Children without a telephone at home”. New York City, despite its low ranking in terms of high school drop outs, is ranked highly in “Children living with a household head who is a high school dropout”. Perhaps this is because individuals with a higher level of education tend to not live in the city and choose to move to the suburbs. Since a lack of education often leads to a lower paying job and fewer job opportunities, it makes sense that people with lower levels of education may be unable to move due to financial problems and difficulties finding work. The cost of housing was a concern for both rural and urban children however, indicating that New York is potentially a costly place to pay for housing, unlike states such as Texas and Oklahoma, which are ranked much lower than New York is.
While New York generally receives lower rankings amongst rural children than urban children, the hardships faced by rural children must be acknowledged as well. Urban children generally are more likely to have access to assistance and different programs such as childcare, health care and governmental assistance than urban children, because urban children can be more isolated and have fewer resources available to them.
In 2015, New York State was ranked 28th over all of the 50 states (1 being the best and 50 being the worst). New York was ranked 37th in economic well being, 19th in education, 9th in health, and 32nd in family and community. While New York scored well in the health category, its economic well being and family and community scores still need improvement.
It is difficult to fully access the differences between urban and rural New York based upon these reports. Statistics are very useful, but often fail to shed light upon the socio-cultural contexts of the populations being studied. While the statistics do make sense to me in terms of what I know about life in rural and urban New York State, they leave me wondering more. I would like to see more statistics about the availability of services such as childcare and the accessibility of public transportation and government assistance programs such as food stamps.
Image: Street child made of cardboard by Michael Aaron Williams.
Zoe has integrated her background as social worker, event organizer, and scientist into the news and media lifestyle brand, Audio Kush, which she co-founded in 2018. An expat and travel enthusiast, she enjoys telling stories which explore society and delve into the mind. A major proponent of cannabis culture and the medicinal potential of marijuana, Zoe works to educate and normalize cannabis as a healing plant.