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The persistence of poverty in the modern American economy, with rates of poverty in some areas approaching those of less advanced economies, remains a central concern among policy makers. Therefore, in this study we use U.S. county-level data to explore potential explanations for the observed regional variation in the rates of poverty. The use of counties allows examination of both nonmetropolitan area and metropolitan area poverty. Factors considered include those that relate to both area economic performance and area demographic composition. Specific county economic factors examined include economic growth, industry restructuring, and labor market skills mismatches.