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Hope in the Delta

Turning the Tide on Persistent Rural Poverty

NeighborWorks America will convene community development professionals from around the country for a conference to address persistent rural poverty areas and lift up asset-based strategies and award-winning contemporary community economic development projects.

image of rural town, text says hope in the deltaThis unique event is primarily for the members of the NeighborWorks Rural Initiative and will be hosted by local network member HOPE Enterprise. The goal of the convening is to identify innovative ideas and strategies that will be relevant and timely to the Network and partners across sectors. View the agenda.

Persistent poverty is an enduring problem in rural America. Geographic isolation, lack of resources and economic opportunities, and disinvestment have led to high poverty rates for decades. Rural and small town poverty rates are highest in the South, where more than half of all rural and small town persons in poverty reside. Even more disconcerting is that the number of persistent poverty counties is on the rise, having increased by 8 percent from the year 2000 level.

Framing the issue

Persistently poor counties are classified as having poverty rates of 20 percent or more in 1990, 2000, and 2010.
Rural America’s role

86 percent of all persistent poverty counties in the United States are rural.
Mapping poverty

Three of the nation’s most economically challenged rural regions are the Delta, Central Appalachia, and the Southwest border region.

Rural communities across America face unique challenges as they strive to create affordable homeownership and rental opportunities and strengthen their communities. NeighborWorks America’s Rural Initiative is dedicated to creating vibrant rural communities by delivering a range of essential services. With approximately 20 percent of the nation’s population classified as rural, empowering rural serving organizations is a clear national imperative. When rural communities thrive, the whole country benefits.


Event Sponsors

Foundation Level


Pillar Level

Tennessee Housing Development Agency logo


Builder Level




Framer Level

Freddie Mac blue and green logo     Regions Bank logo     U.S. Department of Agriculture logo