Abstract  Research has thoroughly documented how out-migration of the educated and skilled from rural areas leaves behind a poorer population and creates pockets of rural poverty. Recently, studies have recognized that the poor are also geographically mobile and that poverty migration patterns can reinforce rural poverty concentrations. In this process, certain impoverished rural communities in economically depressed regions receive a disproportionate share of poverty migrants, concentrating poverty in certain locations. This paper examines the conditions and processes through which poor rural communities become likely destinations for a highly mobile segment of the rural poor and near-poor. Utilizing case studies of depressed rural Illinois communities, it investigates how the interplay of community factors and the behavior of migrants transforms rural communities from residentially stable to highly mobile, impoverished places.