Social Security Cuts: Greatest Impact On Rural Indiana

by Leigh DeNoon
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, the locally owned Mom & Pop 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 or agriculture tend to be more dangerous, and thus you’re more likely to draw things such as disability.”
In Jackson County, 8,815 representing 20.8% of the population receive Social Security Benefits. Of those recipients 67.2% are retired, 13% receive survivor benefits, and 19.9% receive disability benefits.
In Scott County 5,505 or 23.3% of the county population receive Social Security Benefits. Of those recipients, 59.7% are retired, 14.2 receive retirement benefits and 30.1% receive disability payments.
Most neighboring counties show an even higher percentage of Social Security recipients than Jackson County: Jennings, 21.2%; Washington, 21.1%; Lawrence, 22.5%; Brown, 24.8% and Bartholomew, 19.5%.
More information is available at Details by county and by state are at