Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 635–652 | Cite as

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

  • Leigh Ann Simmons
  • Bonnie Braun
  • David W. Wright
  • Scott R. Miller
Original Paper


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 



This research was supported in part by USDA/CSREES/NRICGP Grants—2001-35401-10215, 2002-35401-11591, 2004-35401-14938. Data were collected in conjunction with the cooperative multi state research project NC-223/NC-1011 Rural Low-income families: Tracking Their Well-being and Functioning in the Context of Welfare Reform.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leigh Ann Simmons
    • 1
  • Bonnie Braun
    • 2
  • David W. Wright
    • 3
  • Scott R. Miller
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Family StudiesUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family StudiesUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Child and Family DevelopmentUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WindsorWindsorUSA

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