Social Networks and Coping with Poverty in Rural Areas

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This article draws attention to the spatial dimensions of poverty and the importance of social networks as coping resources for the rural poor. We analyse data from an explorative, mixed-methods study conducted in rural and urban areas in north-eastern Germany, and show that spatial contexts shape poor people's social networks. Our quantitative analyses indicate that compared to the urban networks, the rural networks in our sample are smaller, and include more family members and fewer supportive relationships. Our analysis of qualitative interviews with rural poor people yields a typology of strategies for coping with poverty. It also shows that while social networks represent important resources for coping with poverty in rural areas, the support capacities of these networks are weakened by structural changes, the selective out-migration of younger and better educated individuals, and by the ageing and shrinking of the population.




Klärner, A., & Knabe, A. (2019). Social Networks and Coping with Poverty in Rural Areas. Sociologia Ruralis, 59(3), 447–473.

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