Despite living hard, endlessly challenging lives, the rural poor remain tirelessly optimistic, believing things will get better next year. As one struggling farmer explained, “Sometimes I feel like a jackass in a hailstormI just have to stand here and take it...but what the hellit’ll stop hailing sooner or later.”
The struggle to survive on the richest farmland in America has produced some of the nation’s poorest people. However, rural poverty is not the same as urban poverty: the usual definitions and criteria do not always apply, the known predictors do not necessarily hold up, and again and again the rural poor save themselves because they know no one else will.
This book refutes the common image of the poor as lazy slackers averse to work. In reality, fiercely independent, politically astute, hard-working men and women who possess a wide array of useful skills populate the rural heartlandand they struggle to stay afloat in small-town economies that rise and fall on the whims of remote farm policy decisions, a volatile world marketplace and Mother Nature, who is a fickle, wildly unpredictable business partner.
|Publisher:||McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Paula vW. Dáil is an emerita research professor in social welfare and public policy. Widely published in the social sciences, she is a political activist, former journalist, and award-winning non-fiction writer. She lives in the Lower Wisconsin River Valley of Southwestern Wisconsin.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Poverty in the Rural Midwest-If You Can Find It 11
Maps of Poverty Regions in Midwestern States 29
1 We Ain't Got Much, But We Got Plenty: Understanding Rural Poverty When the Usual Criteria Don't Apply 43
2 Living off the Land: A Brief History of Rural Midwestern America 58
3 America's Heartland: Life in the Midwestern Farm States 86
4 Feeding Candy to the Cows: The Rural Midwestern Farm Economy 104
5 Get Big or Get Out: Rural America Moves into the 21st Century 135
6 Throwing Cow Chips for Entertainment: The Pluses and Minuses of Rural Community Life 154
7 Poverty Makes You Sick: The Rural Health Care Problem 166
8 One-Cop Towns: Rural Crime and Punishment 193
9 Go to School or Go to Work? Is Formal Education the Answer? 205
10 Conclusion: The Invisible Poor 228
Appendix 1 Methodology and Interview Schedules 235
Appendix 2 Agricultural Traits of Midwestern Farm States 239
Appendix 3 Medicaid Eligibility Groups and Services 245
Chapter Notes 251