Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version



Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology, p. 824-825. Springer, 2010.


Copyright 2010, Springer. Used by permission.


Nearly one in three public school students in the United States attends school in a rural area. A rural area is defined as an area with a population of 25,000 people or fewer. Rural America has often been portrayed as an idealized life that involves intact families, close ties with neighbors, low crime levels, and relatively stress free in comparison to the fast paced life of those who reside in urban areas. Although many benefits of rural living hold true, many factors such as poverty, mental health problems, substance abuse, and limited access to services create a more accurate picture of the challenges that students and school personnel experience in rural American schools.

Covers issues that affect the rural school population including poverty, mental health problems, and substance abuse, as well as limited access to services. Includes a list of suggested reading.