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Social Security Cuts: Greatest Impact on Rural Indiana

November 7, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - America's small towns will be hit hardest by any cuts in Social Security, according to a new Center for Rural Strategies analysis released by the rural news website, the Daily Yonder. The review says that is because rural areas have a higher percentage of people who receive those benefits.

Economist Mark Partridge, Swank chair in Rural-Urban Policy at Ohio State University, says the loss may appear small on an individual basis, but its reach would be broad.

"I don't want to say it would devastate communities, but small businesses, restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores - all of these are going to feel an impact if a lot of their steady customers, the ones who spend their money locally, have less."

In metropolitan counties in Indiana, about 17 percent of the population receives Social Security benefits, while in rural counties that figure goes up to more than 21 percent. The Congressional Super Committee is expected to make its recommendations for spending cuts later this month, which might include changes to the Social Security program.

Partridge explains the main reason for a higher percentage of Social Security recipients in rural areas is because young people tend to gravitate toward cities. He also says more people in rural areas receive disability payments.

"It relates to the kinds of industries people work in. Industries like logging, mining or agriculture tend to be more dangerous, and thus you're more likely to draw things such as disability."

More information is available at Details by county and by state are at

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN