South Carolina, The Palmetto State
Agriculture is still big business in South Carolina. With just shy of five million acres of farmland on over 25,000 farms agribusiness is the state’s No. 1 employer, accounting for some 247,000 jobs. Chickens & turkeys are No. 1 and 2 on the top commodities list in the state with corn and cattle filling in the top 4. Long known for tobacco & cotton, they have fallen to No. 10 & 6 respectively on the overall revenue list.
Rural South Carolina is seeing population decline at about the same rate as other states with large areas used for agriculture. Between 2010 & 2016, 15 of the 20 rural counties have seen a population loss.
What stands apart for South Carolina is a higher than average poverty rate among its rural counties. While the U.S. has a 16.4% poverty rate across rural America, South Carolina has a 21.8% rural poverty rate. With both of those numbers being from 2018 one can only speculate as to how a recession and pandemic will affect that number.
This however is similar elsewhere in the Southeast part of the US, where state poverty rates hover around 20% . Compared to plains states like Nebraska & Minnesota where the rural poverty rate is around 11%, this might be a hint as to how much more South Carolina rural communities are set to lose population, as economic pressures send rural poor into urban areas.
Lost Americana is about telling the stories of the people who live in rural America.
•Have you lived in the same rural area since the 1970/80s?
•Were you the last class to graduate from a rural school before it closed its doors forever?
•Do you know of a small town (under 2,000 people) that is a shell of it’s former self?
•Do you just what to give me some feedback on the topics we cover?
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