Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

Violence in the Lives of Rural, Southern & Poor White Women

Much of the research examining poverty and in the United States has focused on urban communities. While this rich multi-disciplinary literature has yielded important insight into the dynamics and the problems that characterize poor individuals and families living in urban settings, considerably less attention has been paid to poor residents in the rural south. This dearth of comparative research diminishes the potential for understanding urban poverty itself and results in inadequate information about the lives of poor and rural families, especially single mothers and their children who live in the southern region of the United States. Such a lack of information about these vulnerable women is of particular significance in light of the currently small but fast-growing body of research indicating that is related to welfare and domestic violence. This study builds on Michael Sherraden’s ideas about the significance of an individual’s ability to accumulate assets over their life course. It examines in detail how domestic violence may inhibit asset development by diminishing single mother’s accumulation of human and social capital, thus compromising their well-being as adults and as parents.


Farber, N., & Miller-Cribbs, J. (2002). Violence in the lives of rural, southern & poor white women (CSD Working Paper No. 02-11). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.