Monday, June 30, 2014

Where Are the Hardest Places to Live in the U.S.?

Blue is good, Orange is bad. The more saturated the color, the more extreme the county. The ranking is based on "six data points for each county in the United States: education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity."

I quote from the article in The New York Times:
The 10 lowest counties in the country, by this ranking, include a cluster of six in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky (Breathitt, Clay, Jackson, Lee, Leslie and Magoffin), along with four others in various parts of the rural South: Humphreys County, Miss.; East Carroll Parish, La.; Jefferson County, Ga.; and Lee County, Ark....... 
 If you exclude educational attainment, or lack of it, in measuring disadvantage, five counties in Mississippi and one in Louisiana rank lower than anywhere in Kentucky. This suggests that while more people in the lower Mississippi River basin have a college degree than do their counterparts in Appalachian Kentucky, that education hasn’t improved other aspects of their well-being.
I have been fortunate enough to always live in the more affluent portions of the country (thanks Dad!). As a result I was able to go to good schools, get a good education and then good jobs.

Joe Bageant writes about America's class war, noting that "Rednecks" do poorly in our society, focusing on the folk from the Appalachians of Scotch-Irish background. Of course, in the south it is the blacks who are having the most trouble; in other parts of the country it is Indians and Hispanics.

Since we have no real national education system we are willing to see these areas continue to lag in education, and thus in income and the quality of life. But if you leave half the country behind in this generation, the whole country suffers in future generations -- at least in the sense of not achieving what might have been.

No comments: