By the Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., JSRI Director
One predominant characteristic of our region, despite decades of “New South” propaganda, is the reality and legacy of our poverty—of our elders, our families, our children, our education, our health status, our infant mortality, our life expectancy, and our future. Two of the five states of the Gulf anchor the bottom of the list of economic well-being—Mississippi is the poorest (50th) and Louisiana is just above it (49th). The others solidly populate the lowest segments, none rising above the median. Texas is 43rd; Alabama is 42nd; and Florida is 29th on the list of states by percentage of its people living in poverty. We get so used to being at the bottom of these kinds of lists that we seem to just ignore repeated reports, perhaps hoping that they will go away on their own.
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