SEATTLE - The smaller the town, the greater chance it will be hit hard by any cuts to Social Security, according to a new analysis on the rural-news website, the Daily Yonder
. The review by the Center for Rural Strategies
says that is simply because rural areas have a higher percentage of people who receive those benefits.
Economist Mark Partridge, Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy at Ohio State University, says the loss may appear small on an individual basis, but its reach would be broad.
"I don't want to necessarily say it would devastate communities, but I think small businesses, restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores - all of these are going to feel some impact if a lot of their steady customers, the ones who spend their money locally, have less."
The main reason for the higher percentage of Social Security recipients in rural areas, Partridge explains, is because young people tend to gravitate toward cities. He also points out that more people in rural areas receive disability payments.
"It relates to the kinds of industries people work in. Industries like logging, mining or agriculture tend to be more dangerous, and thus you're more likely to draw things such as disability."
In metropolitan counties in Washington, an average of 17 percent of the population receives Social Security benefits, while in the rural counties that figure averages almost 27 percent. The Congressional "Super Committee" is expected to make its recommendations for spending cuts later this month; they may include changes to the Social Security program.
More information is available at www.DailyYonder.com
. Details by county and by state are at http://srdc.msstate.edu/socialsecurity/