Abstract  Employing data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 March supplements of the Current Population Surveys, this study examines changing household and family structure in metro and nonmetro areas and corresponding changes in poverty, emphasizing female-headed families with children under age 18. We also pay particular attention to the structure and economic conditions of subfamilies with children during this period. Household and family structure in suburban metro and nonmetro areas were quite similar by 2000. In contrast, families and households in nonmetro and metro central city areas were similar in their high prevalence of poverty. Finally, the risk of female-headed families and subfamilies with children living in poverty is highest for nonmetro residents, and their individual characteristics suppress rather than account for this disadvantage. This pattern persisted across the decades studied, despite economic growth during the 1990s.