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Abstract

Excerpts from the report Highlights: The Mississippi Delta had the highest incidence of severe and persistent rural poverty (as defined in the report), closely followed by South Carolina. A fourth of the households surveyed in these regions were seriously deprived. About a 20th of Ozark households were equally deprived. Three-fourths of poverty problems in the areas were associated with nonparticipation in the labor force, farm laborer occupations, and operation of small subsistence farms. These factors were associated with 84 percent of Ozarks poverty and 76 percent of South Carolina poverty. The nonworking population accounted for a large share of poverty in each area because of old age, disability, or lack of job opportunities for their occupational level. Among those employed at the time of the surveys, the Delta farm laborer group constituted a major economic problem. In the Ozarks, older retired people made up most of the poor. South Carolina operators of small farms constituted as great a problem as those not working. Farm tenure arrangements varied among the poor. In South Carolina, the predominant type of arrangement was sharecropping. In the Ozarks, 85 percent of poor farmers owned their land. In the Delta, poverty was most often found among the farm labor population; relatively little poverty occurred among farmers.

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