By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

A new report highlights the challenges rural communities face in attracting affordable housing, although many of them across the country have high poverty rates, low vacancy rates and high unemployment rates as do urban centers.

The report’s author, Corianne Scally, is a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, which released the survey. She said that the findings were a surprise to her.

“It was surprising to see so many rural communities that are struggling with just having very few vacant rental units available,” she told HuffPost, “and to see so many rural communities with very few federally subsidized rental units.”

Because living and housing costs tend to be lower in rural areas than they are in cities, housing—or the lack of it—often gets overlooked by government surveys. Incomes in those areas, however, tend to be lower, too, than in urban areas, particularly reflecting declining industries such as coal mining. Job opportunities are often limited, as well.

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