Social Security is even more important to New York’s rural
communities than non-rural communities, according to a new report
released by IN THIS TOGETHER: New Yorkers United to Protect Social
Security. (The report is available on the Internet at http://InThisTogetherCampaign.org/RuralReport.pdf.)
New York State Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida), the ranking
minority member of the New York State Senate Committee on Agriculture,
says the report shows that President George Bush’s plan to privatize
Social Security will be most detrimental to New Yorkers who live and
work on farms and in rural communities.
“Upstate New Yorkers are dealing with so many challenges right now.
It is simply not the time to pull the social security rug out from
under our rural communities,” said Valesky. “Social Security is part of
a compact the government has made with all working Americans and it
serves as an essential retirement benefit for people in rural
communities. No one should take away what we have earned and what
rightfully belongs to us.”
The mandatory benefit cuts included in Bush’s Social Security
privatization plan would hurt New York’s rural communities more harshly
than urban communities. For every county in New York, the Institute for
America’s Future analyzed Social Security income and beneficiary data
as well as other distinguishing characteristics from the Social
Security Administration, Congressional Budget Office, Bureau of
Economic Analysis and other sources. The study found that New York’s
rural communities depend on income from Social Security more than the
According to state classifications, there are 44 non-metropolitan or
rural counties in New York. Total personal income in these counties was
fully $84.4 billion in 2003, according to the Bureau of Economic
Analysis (BEA). The BEA reports that individuals with Social Security
income in these counties cumulatively received $6.5 billion in Social
Security benefits – or 7.7 percent. Although non-rural communities rely
on Social Security income, they do not nearly as much as rural areas.
There are 18 non-rural counties in New York with a total personal
income of $609.4 billion with individuals receiving $25.7 billion in
Social Security benefits – or 4.2 percent.
“Rural Americans deserve the guaranteed benefits of Social Security
and depend on these benefits even more than their urban counterparts,”
“This report clearly shows that any reduction in benefits would have
a disproportionate negative impact on New York’s rural communities,”
said Richard Kirsch, the state director of IN THIS TOGETHER: New
Yorkers United to Protect Social Security.
The report also reveals that rural New York has a higher percentage
of women who receive Social Security, and more disabled people
receiving Social Security benefits.