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2007-2010 Research Priorities

Planning for a Secure Financial Future

Financial security is the ability to meet day-to-day obligations while planning, saving, and investing to achieve future financial goals such as education, retirement, homeownership, and small business startup. By building assets and managing debt, households are better able to contribute to the economic vitality of their communities. More research is needed to determine the practices that motivate people to build wealth and not debt. Additional research is needed to examine the relationships between economically secure families, community prosperity, civic engagement, and rural entrepreneurship.

Household Food Security and Health

Research has explored the links between family socioeconomic status and issues of food security and health. Resources such as community food support programs, the local health care system, and employer-sponsored benefit programs profoundly influence family food security and health. How families use these resources also can influence their food security and health. Independently, none of the resources can fully address these issues. To comprehensively address health and food security, research must look at all of these resources and the interactions among them.

Loss in Times of Disaster

Research is needed on the economic consequences and adjustments of households following natural disasters, terrorism, and wars. Vulnerability is the risk of substantial losses from which families may have difficulty recovering or may never recover. These losses are emotional, social, and financial because of the loss of family members, personal health, jobs, houses, household goods, cars, financial incomes, assets, and social support at interpersonal and community levels. Research is needed on the kinds of resilience demonstrated, the best practices to meet human needs following disasters, and information from households to inform practices.