Is it a Jungle Out There?: Meat Packing, Immigrants and Rural Communities

Over the past 35 years, meatpacking plants have moved from urban to rural areas. These plants can represent a significant share of a rural community’s employment. As a traditional employer of immigrants, these plants can also alter significantly the demographic composition of a rural community. These changes have led to numerous controversies regarding whether meatpacking plants impose social or economic costs on their host communities. This study uses comments culled from various media to identify where there exist sharp differences of opinion on how local meatpacking presence affects local language problems, social service expenses, special needs schooling and the mix of foreign- and native-born citizens. These opinions are used to formulate testable hypotheses regarding the true impact of local packing plants on these indicators. The study shows that while meatpacking has had some large impacts on the demographic composition of rural communities, the industry has not imposed large costs in the form of increased provision of social services or special needs schooling.

Issue Date:
Jul 23 2008
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
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Series Statement:
ISU Economics Working Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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