Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Benny R. McManus

Committee Members

M. B. Badenhop, D. O. Baxter


This study was designed: 1) to determine the present status of rural housing in Tennessee by examining the relationships between selected socioeconomic characteristics of rural residents and character-istics of rural housing, and 2) to develop financial plans of improving housing for low-income families in rural Tennessee. Data for the study were obtained from a sample of 1,624 households, selected by a random sampling technique, from 68 rural counties in Ten-nessee. Data were secured from household heads through personal interviews. Accessibility, condition of yards, exterior conditions of houses, space, water and sanitation facilities, and feasibility of repair were evaluated to determine the condition of houses. Accessibility of dwellings continues to remain a problem in rural Tennessee. Almost half of the homes included in the study were located on unpaved roads. The condition of yards was less of a problem. Only a fifth of the families permitted their yards to be disorderly and poorly maintained. The exterior conditions of homes appeared to be reasonably sound in most instances. Serious defects in roofs, exterior walls, foundations, doors, windows, and screens were present in only a few cases. After observing the exterior conditions of homes, enumerators rated each dwelling according to its feasibility of repair. Thirty-five, 43, and 22 percent of the dwellings received high, moderate, and poor feasibility of repair ratings, respectively. The amount of space inside the dwellings was adequate in most cases. The living space in 80 percent of the dwellings ranged between 400-1,999 square feet. Most dwellings had adequate space available for functional activities. Water and sanitation facilities inside the dwellings were rated according to the source of water supply, type of water facilities, and type of toilet facilities. A fifth of the families reported springs or dug wells as the source of their water supply. A fifth of the families also reported having no piped running water facilities. A third of the families reported privy-outhouses or chemical toilets as their type of toilet facilities. Family income was the most important direct factor affecting the quality and adequacy of housing in rural Tennessee. Chi-square analysis was used to test the relationships between family income and selected characteristics of rural residents and rural housing. Family income was significantly related to race, age, education, employment status, occupation, net worth, and skills of the household heads at the 0.01 level. Family income was also significantly related, at the 0.01 level, to the value of homes and the price homes household heads were most interested in building. Many families received incomes inadequate to finance new houses and as a result had to reside in substandard housing. A plan whereby the federal government would subsidize the cost of housing these low-income families was proposed. The estimated subsidy required to provide these low-income families with new low-cost houses was $183,130 per year. The households in the survey represent ,003797 percent of all rural house-holds in Tennessee according to the 1970 census. Therefore, under the proposed plan, it would require almost $70 million per year in subsidy to place adequate housing within the reach of all rural Tennesseans.

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