The Earned Income Tax Credit and Rural Families: Differences Between Non-participants and Participants
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Differences between rural low-income mothers who were non-participants and participants in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) were examined. About one-third (35%) of the 224 eligible mothers in a multi-state USDA study, Rural Families Speak, did not claim the tax credit. The EITC non-participants were more likely to be Hispanic, be less educated, have larger families, perceive their income as being inadequate, live in more rural counties, and possess little understanding of the EITC. Participating mothers were more likely to be single, food secure, and satisfied with life. Analysis of qualitative data revealed that the mothers had many misconceptions about the EITC. These findings assist in formulating policies and outreach efforts that may increase rural low-income families’ EITC participation.
KeywordsEarned Income Tax Credit EITC non-participants EITC participants Low-income rural families
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. Cooperating states were California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and West Virginia. The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Ethan Robert Young, undergraduate research assistant, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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