Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



This study was a secondary analysis of wave one data of the Rural Families Speak project, a multi-state longitudinal Agricultural Experiment Station project that focused on assessing changes in the well-being and functioning of rural low-income families in the context of welfare reform. Quantitative analysis was conducted to determine the housing situations of the families and the relationships of these factors with the family economic and cognitive well-being and employment circumstances of study participants. Discriminant analysis was used to develop a model to predict the employment circumstances (employed, not employed) of the participants. Housing costs usually take the first and largest portion of a family's budget, leaving the rest of the income to purchase food, clothing, health care needs, school fees, etc. Without supplemental assistance from family, friends, and government agencies, the housing costs for many of the families would be a burden to the family budget, limiting the funds available for human capital needs. Most participants in this wave of the study did not have housing costs greater than the government standard of 30% of monthly income. However, the majority of the families could not have afforded to pay fair market rents for housing in their geographic areas with their current monthly incomes. Variables included in the final model to predict the participant's employment status were the housing income adequacy of the family (fair market rent divided by monthly income), transportation assistance, child care assistance, Medicaid, TANF, and marital status. The model correctly classified over 70% of the cases. Family economic and cognitive well-being for rural low-income families was studied with housing tenure as the independent variable. Homeownership was found to increase the participant's level of family economic well-being, as measured by the perception of income adequacy and the family's total monthly income. Housing tenure was found to be independent of participant's health, community awareness, and life satisfaction. By tracking these families over time, the changes in their family economic well-being and their employment circumstances can be examined. Housing costs and circumstances can be monitored and analyzed for relationships to employment and family economic situations.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Michael Burnett