The five poorest States in the country are in the southern region. The position of Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Georgia and Kentucky in the top 5 of poorest states is not a recent phenomenon, as there has scarcely been a period in their histories when they have thrived economically.
This region has always struggled with physical factors and the weather has been a major one in the lack of economic activity in the area. Mississippi is constantly regarded as the poorest state in the country and it is forever being flooded by the Mississippi River as it enters the delta region.
Huge investment has been required to save people’s lives and this has proved to be a costly investment for the state government, which has suffered from one of the lowest budgets in the country. The state has the highest poverty rate in the country with a quarter of its residents leaving below the poverty line.
The problem has been for the State to encourage new businesses to invest in the region. The historical incidents with civil rights issues has not made it appealing to investors and many wage earners in the state receive wages that are barely above the minimum wage.
There are many factors that have combined to keep the levels of investment coming into the state to a minimum. The ports on the coast are not deep enough, the rivers are barely navigable, the soils are regularly being flooded and there is a lack of mineral deposits.
The state appears to be in cyclical poverty which is being passed down from generation to generation. There is a high rate of single parentage and the number of children below the poverty line is at 33% and there are huge numbers of families claiming benefits from the government.
New Mexico is another State that is suffering from a lack of investment and it recently suffered the loss of 4000 public sector jobs between 2007 and 2009. It contains large numbers of residents that suffer from drug addiction and the state has the highest numbers of homelessness in the country.
The state also suffers from of the poorest schools in the country. Whenever, new companies are attracted into the region many of the residents are barely qualified to take advantage of the new jobs that are available.
The state has never benefited from rich soils and has had to rely on its supplies of natural gas. Whenever the world price of gas drops so the economy of New Mexico suffers and its plight isn’t helped by its geographical position making it remote to many other parts of the country.
Louisiana is another state in the region that suffers from a variety of problems. It has an unemployment rate of 6.6% which is 20% higher than the national average. There is also huge income inequality with the top 20% of earners being rewarded with wages that are 18 times higher than the bottom 20%.
The State suffers from being part of the Mississippi flood plains which has left behind vast areas of coastal marsh and swamp. Despite these being rare areas of great biodiversity, it has done little to bring any economic benefit to the region. The area also suffers from the tropical storms that come off the Gulf of Mexico in the summer making the flat low lying topography susceptible to flooding.
The United States is linked to great wealth and development. However in certain regions there are a number of areas that are struggling to be as economically successful as everywhere else.