Monday, July 26, 2010

NBC Dateline follows poverty in southeastern Ohio

NBC Dateline, on Sunday July 25, ran a one-hour documentary “America Now: Friends and Neighbors” with the subtitle “How do you choose between paying your bills and feeding your kids”, with main link here.

The program centered on families struggling and living together in cramped mobile homes in southeastern Ohio. They did depend on Lutheran Social Services, but they also banded together to prepared communal meals and develop schemes to properly share scarce food. There was mention fo the fact that the grownups often have cereal for dinner.

That region of Ohio is at the end of what we call "Appalachia" and used to supply more coal mining jobs but, like West Virginia, has been affected by strip mining.

The extreme unemployment in the region has been building up for many years, going back to the days of hostile takeovers and offshoring, and then got worse after the 2008 financial crisis. On the other hand, there are a number of small very successful and relatively “private” high-tech companies throughout this part of the Midwest (I am particularly familiar with one of them because of family), so the overall outlook is very mixed.

The film "Winter's Bone", while set in the Missouri Ozarks, demonstrates the economic conditions in these areas well (see my movies blog, June 18, 2010).

Wikipedia attribution link for Hocking Hills picture.

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