Hard Economic News for Mississippi Counties

The Wall Street Journal published an electronic story on counties in this country where the American Dream is dead. It began by stating that the percentage of children who grow up to earn more than their parents is down from 90% of children born in 1940 to 50% of children born in the 1980’s. The article went on to say that neighborhood environments have substantial effects on children’s economic outcomes. I imagine this is not shocking news for most of us.

The article went on to say that the chance of earning an average income of more than $26,090, which is the lowest national income quartile, goes down for every year of childhood spent in economically challenged counties. Put another way, the poorest counties have a toxic effect on the income chances of its children. The article went on to list the top 50 counties where the average incomes lost are greatest.

A standard to keep in mind will be helpful. The national poverty rate is 15/5%. Quitman County, MS is number 32 of the 50 counties listed with an average income loss of $214 for every year a child lives there. The poverty rate is 33.1%. Grenada County is just behind with an income loss of $215 per year and a poverty rate of 20.9%. Washington County is number 28, followed by Oktibbeha County at number 26 and Bolivar County at number 25. Sunflower County is number 24 with an income loss of $228 per year and a poverty rate of 30%. Unfortunately, there are more.

Tallahatchie County is number 22 and Leflore County with a drop of $236 per year and a poverty rate of 34.8% is number 16. Then comes Claiborne County with a drop of $242 per year and a poverty rate of 32.4% at number 13. Tunica County stands at number 10 with a rate of $249 in lost income each year and a poverty rate of 33.1%. Finally, we have Humphreys County with an income loss of $253 per year and a poverty rate of 38.2% at number 9 and Coahoma County at number 7 with an income loss of $273 per year and a poverty rate of 35.9%.

I feel these numbers may be a call for churches to expand generosity and stewardship education beyond the need to give and into the area of personal financial management. Bad money