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Worse than Appalachia

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  • Worse than Appalachia

    I can attest with first hand experience that California's central valley is poor, dirt poor. As rural poverty goes this place beats Appalachia as one of the poorest and worst run parts of America. The primary problem is the population make up which is mostly illegal Mexican farm workers who get paid less then minimum wage and white trash (more often then not high school drop outs) who got priced out of the coastal cities and so congregated in these cheap poor rural areas. So the population basically has no skills and no money with nothing but low paying farm jobs in the area. It really is a grim place.

    Worse than Appalachia
    Valley congressional district ranks last nationwide on study's scorecard of well-being.
    By Michael Doyle / Bee Washington Bureau
    07/16/08 23:09:54

    WASHINGTON -- Poverty, poor health and low graduation rates have put the San Joaquin Valley's 20th Congressional District dead last in a new national scorecard that ranks the well-being of residents.

    Even notoriously grim Appalachia fares better than the congressional district that sweeps in Fresno, Kings and Kern counties, the study made public Wednesday shows. The assessment of health, education and income ranks the district 436th out of 436 districts nationwide.

    "We have significant issues in the Valley that reflect rural inequality," said Adela de la Torre, a University of California at Davis professor and adviser for the study. "The Valley has always been an area that's underserved."

    The study, "The Measure of America," applies to the United States -- for the first time -- a so-called "human development" standard previously used to evaluate developing countries from Afghanistan to Zambia. The domestic results are sobering.

    For instance, only 6.5% of the 20th Congressional District's adults have graduated from college. In the top-ranked New York City district, 62.6% of adult residents claim a college degree.

    Only half of the Valley district's households have annual incomes above $16,767. In the New York City district, half claim incomes above $51,139. Most poignantly, the residents of Manhattan's Upper East Side live, on average, 41/2 years longer than residents of the Valley district.

    "These two districts are very, very far apart in human development," study co-author Kristen Lewis noted.

    The San Joaquin Valley's manifold woes have been previously identified in studies by everyone from Modesto's Great Valley Center to the Congressional Research Service. This latest 246-page study provides a somewhat different lens.

    The study was funded by Oxfam America, the Rockefeller Foundation and other nonprofit groups. The authors, affiliated with the nonpartisan Social Science Research Council and Columbia University Press, tallied health, education and income statistics. They called their "human development index" a measure of "three basic building blocks" of a good life.

    "We have difficult challenges, there is no doubt," acknowledged Rep. Jim Costa, the Fresno Democrat who has represented the 20th Congressional District since 2005.

    Costa, echoing de la Torre, stressed that "we lag in terms of dollars spent in the Valley, compared to other parts of the United States."

    The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service likewise noted in a December 2005 report requested by Costa and other Valley lawmakers that the region "received fewer federal funds" than other parts of California or the United States overall.

    At the same time, Costa stressed that "we've seen improvements" in areas like unemployment, and he predicted further improvements could result after developments like the opening of a proposed new University of California medical school in Merced.

    "Manhattan's Upper East Side is obviously going to have higher income and more people with advanced degrees," Costa added. "But this does not mean that a farmer who did not go to college is worse off than anyone else."

    By explicitly ranking all 435 congressional districts, in addition to the District of Columbia, the authors put individual lawmakers on the spot.

    This has tactical implications, as the new report includes an "eight-point human development agenda" whose tenets range from boosting incomes and increasing paid maternal leave to making health care affordable for all Americans.

    "It could not come at a better time," said Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam International. "We are in the midst of an electrifying election when voters are hungry for change."

    Four congressional districts share portions of Fresno County, and other San Joaquin Valley counties likewise struggle with persistently low incomes and high dropout rates.

    The 21st Congressional District represented by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, ranked 378th, the 19th Congressional District represented by Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, ranked 235th, and the 18th Congressional District represented by Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, ranked 403rd on the new score card.

    Higher income and better school performance go hand in hand. But researchers noted that the wealthy and well-schooled do not necessarily live significantly longer.

    California, overall, ranks 11th on the scorecard, which puts wealthy Connecticut in the top spot. Residents of last-place Mississippi can expect to live six years less than the average resident of either California or Connecticut, the study shows.
    The reporter can be reached at mdoyle@mcclatchydc.com or (202) 383-0006.
    http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/735060.html

    It's a shame that the rest of the state is so well off but that the central valley has turned into a little slice of 3rd world dysfunction.

    http://media.fresnobee.com/smedia/20...ffiliate.8.pdf
    Try http://wordforge.net/index.php for discussion and debate.

  • #2
    The truth is, you'll find places like that all over the U.S.
    Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...

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    • #3
      Yeah, they just said it was the worst.

      JM
      Jon Miller-
      I AM.CANADIAN
      GENERATION 35: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

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      • #4
        That may be true. When I was studying such, I was told that the poorest place on Earth was actually in an American Indian reservation.
        Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...

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