Individual quality of life (QOL) is a critical foundation of stable and cohesive societies. This research examines QOL among Iowa farmers, who as a group have seen their numbers decline precipitously over the past decades as the farm economy has undergone major restructuring processes. Farm families are nested in rural communities, many of which have also experienced persistent population loss and economic decline over the same period. A multilevel modeling approach is employed to examine determinants of subjective QOL over time, using 29 years of longitudinal data. Results point to positive relationships between household income, community vitality, and farm family QOL. Individual stress and economic dependence on farming were negatively associated with QOL. The finding that community vitality is a critical determinant of farm family quality of life supports long-standing appeals to increase investment in community development efforts.

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