Original Paper

Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 635-652

First online:

Human Capital, Social Support, and Economic Well-being among Rural, Low-income Mothers: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis

  • Leigh Ann SimmonsAffiliated withDepartment of Family Studies, University of Kentucky Email author 
  • , Bonnie BraunAffiliated withDepartment of Family Studies, University of Maryland
  • , David W. WrightAffiliated withDepartment of Child and Family Development, University of Georgia
  • , Scott R. MillerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Windsor

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The purpose of this study was to better understand human capital and social support in the long-term economic well-being of rural, low-income mothers in the US. Three waves of data from a multi-state, longitudinal investigation tracking the well-being of rural families, known as “Rural Families Speak,” were used to test two latent growth curve models of economic well-being. Results indicated that human capital alone is not a good predictor of economic well-being over time for this sample. A model of economic well-being that includes both social support and human capital provides a better fit for these data. Findings suggest that social support is a key contributor to long-term economic success for this sample. Implications for public policy are presented.


Economic well-being Human capital Rural Social support Welfare reform