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Why Housing Matters: Hac's 2000 Report On the State of the Nation's Rural Housing
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As we enter the new millennium, the landscape of rural America has changed dramatically from the beginning of last century. In 1900, more than two-thirds of the nation's population resided in rural areas. In 2000, less than one-quarter do. Rural America's economy and lifestyle have changed as well. Traditional family farms and small town centers have been replaced by large corporate agriculture and strip malls. As the landscape of rural America has changed, so too have rural homes. For the most part these changes have been positive, as more rural residents have access to decent, safe, and more comfortable living environments than ever before. However, as documented in the following report, far too many rural Americans lack decent homes.

Housing matters. It is an important aspect of our lives and our society. As Tremblay and Dillman note in Beyond the American Housing Dream: "People spend much of their day in the confines of their homes; the home separates people from others; the home provides a place of retreat and replenishment . . . . It represents socioeconomic status in the eyes of the community, and housing costs demand a large piece of the family budget pie." This year's State of the Nation's Rural Housing seeks to draw attention to why housing matters.

Specifically, this report investigates how housing and communities are cornerstones for quality of life and economic well-being. Particular attention is placed on special populations, including low-income families, minorities, seniors, and households with children. In addition, this year's report highlights the stories of several rural families and individuals who live in federally assisted housing and what decent housing means to their quality of life and well-being (Authors).
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