America is increasingly becoming a divided nation. Those with money are flocking to the major cities on both coasts, while many of those that don’t are fleeing to rural areas. As a result, economic conditions can look vastly different depending on where you live. In large cities on the east and west coasts that have been heavily “gentrified”, it can seem like times have never been better. Alternatively, there are certain areas in rural America where it feels like we are in the midst of a horrifying economic depression that never seems to end. Some elitists derisively refer to the rural areas between the east and west coasts as “flyover country”, and they have little sympathy for the struggles of rural Americans. But those struggles are very real, and in this article you will see that poverty and suicide rates are soaring in non-urban parts of the country.
A new study that was just released contains some hard data about the “income sorting” that is going on nationwide. According to CBS News, the study found that those that are moving into expensive cities make much more money than those that are leaving, and conversely those that are moving into poorer cities make much less than those that are leaving for greener pastures…
America’s wealthy households are increasingly moving to coastal cities on both sides of the country, but those with more modest incomes are either relocating to or being pushed into the nation’s Rust Belt, according to a new study.
That’s creating “income sorting” across the country, with expensive cities like Los Angeles, New York and Seattle drawing wealthier residents. For instance, Americans who move to San Francisco earn nearly $13,000 more than those who move away, the study found. Conversely, those who are moving into less expensive inland cities such as Detroit or Pittsburgh earn up to $5,000 less than those who are leaving.
One of the consequences of this phenomenon is that real estate prices are wildly different depending on where you live. As wealthy people have steadily migrated into expensive cities such as New York and San Francisco, this has pushed housing prices into the stratosphere…
The trend may not only hurt poorer residents who are forced out, but also the rich Americans who move to coastal cities. Well-off residents who move to already expensive cities like San Francisco are bidding up real estate prices until property becomes unaffordable for all but the very richest families. Many end up renting — until that, too, becomes unaffordable.
The California real estate bubble has reached dizzying heights in recent years. Earlier today, I came across an article about a rancher in Marin County that has reluctantly decided to sell his ranch, and he seemed quite sad about it.
So what made him decide to pull the trigger?
Well, the ranch that he once paid $40,000 for is now worth a cool 5 million dollars…
Mark Pasternak is a Marin County-based rancher who produces specialty meat products for local shoppers and some of the toniest restaurants in the Bay Area. He bought his 75-acre Devil’s Gulch Ranch in western Marin County back in 1971 for $550 an acre and has been raising pigs, sheep, rabbits and poultry ever since. The farm is a fixture in the local community, so it shocked many when Pasternak announced the ranch is for sale.
He said he’s selling because of the jump in value. The land around his has already been snapped up by wealthy people for private ranches with large homes. The property Pasternak paid less than $40,000 for is now worth about $5 million.
Meanwhile, things continue to go from bad to worse in many rural parts of the country.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly one out of every four children in rural America is living in poverty…
According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly a quarter of children growing up in rural America were poor in 2016, compared to slightly more than 20 percent in urban areas.
It was a southwestern state, Arizona, according to the report, that had the highest rural child rate of any state, with 36 percent.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the report found the highest concentrations of child poverty, overall, in the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia and on Native American reservations.
These days, most of the good jobs are concentrated in the major cities. Small businesses and family farms have traditionally been the lifeblood of rural communities, but our “modern economy” has not been kind to small businesses and family farms.
In rural America, times are tough, and that is one of the reasons why the suicide rate is much, much higher in rural areas than it is in the large cities. The following comes from CNN…
The suicide rate in rural America is 45% greater than in large urban areas, according to a study released last fall by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A more recent CDC report said Montana’s suicide rate leads the nation, coming in at nearly twice the national average. A third long-touted CDC study, currently under review, listed farming in the occupational group, along with fishing and forestry, with the highest rate of suicide deaths.
That occupational study was based on 2012 data, when farming was strong and approaching its peak in 2013, says Jennifer Fahy, communications director for the nonprofit Farm Aid. Farmers’ net income has fallen 50% since 2013 and is expected to drop to a 12-year low this year, the US Department of Agriculture reports.
If things are this bad now, what will it be like when economic conditions really begin to deteriorate?
We live at a time when the gap between the wealthy and the poor is exploding, and this is putting a tremendous amount of strain on our society. At one time the wealthy lived in the “good parts” of our major cities and the poor lived in the “bad parts”, but now the poor are being completely forced out of our expensive cities on a massive scale.
It is most definitely a tale of two Americas, and I don’t think that it is going to have a happy ending.