Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Schools at the Rural-Urban Boundary: Blurring the Divide?

TitleSchools at the Rural-Urban Boundary: Blurring the Divide?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBurdick-Will, J, Logan, JR
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Type of ArticleArticle
KeywordsEducation, Geography, Inequality, performance, race, resources

Schools often mirror the communities in which they are located. Research on rural-urban school inequality tends to focus on the contrast among urban, suburban, and rural schools, glossing over the variation and similarities within these areas. We provide a richer description of the spatial distribution of educational inequality by examining school composition, achievement, and resources in all U.S. public elementary schools in 2010–2011. We take the traditional census categories derived from residential and commuting patterns, and apply them to schools across the country in analyses that reveal gradual transitions and blurry boundaries among the traditional zones. The results show high levels of variation within the suburbs and substantial commonality between rural and urban areas and suggest that census-defined metropolitan areas are not ideal when considering the geography of educational opportunity. © 2017, © 2017 by The American Academy of Political and Social Science.