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A Gendered Context of Opportunity: Determinants of Poverty across Urban and Rural Labor Markets

Dana L. Haynie and Bridget K. Gorman
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 40, No. 2 (Spring, 1999), pp. 177-197
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Midwest Sociological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4121230
Page Count: 21
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A Gendered Context of Opportunity: Determinants of Poverty across Urban and Rural Labor Markets
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Abstract

Current research has failed to examine how women's opportunities in the labor market, in combination with their human capital attributes, differentially affect the likelihood that they will live in poverty. This study overcomes this limitation by placing specific emphasis on the role that labor market opportunities play in contributing to, or reducing, women's and men's risk of poverty. In addition, differences in poverty risk by urban and rural labor market areas are examined, as labor market dynamics vary substantially by rurality. Using the PUMS-L and STF3C for 1990, logistic regression techniques are employed to address these issues. Our results indicate that women across all labor market contexts have a significantly higher risk of poverty than men, and incorporation of labor market characteristics fails to explain this higher risk. However, the economic opportunities available in the labor market play an important role in determining how an individual's credentials, family background, and work experience translate into poverty risk. While individual attributes play a smaller role in explaining rural women's likelihood of living in poverty, women in both urban and rural labor markets face more limited economic opportunities than their male counterparts. This suggests that a "gendered" context of opportunity remains a barrier for women's movement out of poverty in both urban and rural labor markets.

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