As the American economy becomes more global, the source of its economic health and security changes. In the frontier era, rural areas in the United States were the source of health and security, promising economic growth, new opportunities, and an abundance of jobs. As the economy changed and cities grew, other sources of economic stability emerged, leaving rural communities behind. Today, rural areas suffer from a decrease in job creation, outmigration of young and skilled workers, and a decrease in the demand for many rural products (Henderson, 2002; Pezzini, 2000). As a result, rural areas are in need of sustainable development to help improve their local industries and compete in the new global market. Current discussions emphasize the lack of economic assets in rural communities as not only a symptom but also as a cause of poverty and suggest that it might be valuable to include asset-building as an approach to reducing poverty in rural areas (Dorward, Anderson, Clark, Keane & Moguel, 2001).
Subsequent publication: Grinstein-Weiss, M., & Curley, J. (2004). Individual Development Accounts in rural communities: Implications for research. In T. L. Scales & C. L. Streeter (Eds.), Rural social work: Building and sustaining community assets (pp. 328–340). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.