Sunday, June 12, 2011

Take a tour of Allendale, South Carolina where half of all residents live below the US poverty line

With little industry other than the US nuclear facility on the Savannah River, run down infrastructure, dilapidated rail lines, some marginal cotton and timber farming and no Interstate highway to bring in traffic, Allendale County, South Carolina is the poorest and most neglected county in South Carolina and the 10th poorest county in the United States. 

The rapidly diminishing population is overwhelmingly African-American and majority female. When I visited the City of Allendale in January 2011, I saw no operating businesses on either of the two main drags. Likewise the streets were striking in their absence of both cars and people. The single operating restaurant was a warm and friendly place that was not prepared to serve more than coffee and iced tea.

Here are some pictures and links that illustrate the long term effects of conservative politics on a community.

This boarded up filling station on the virtually abandoned main road into Allendale, SC is typical of the state of businesses in Allendale, SC.

Half of all Allendale, SC residents live below the US poverty line and a quarter exist on incomes half that amount.

Cotton, the mainstay of the Allendale, SC economy since slavery, continues to be the basis of a local economy where industry and business are almost completely absent. This photo was taken just south of the Allendale city limits.

Allendale County, South Carolina: America's 10th poorest county

Palmetto and cedar swamps like this one found within the city limits, restrain agricultural and other economic development in the Allendale, South Carolina region.

Allendale, SC residents more than half as poor as other South Carolinians

Rusted railroad track and businesses like this dilapidated grain operation in neighboring Hampton County, SC explain much about why the economy has been sidelined and unemployment continues to soar not just in south west South Carolina but throughout the State.

With a population with little to pawn and no money to "rent to own" even businesses like this Spartanburg, SC pawnshop that dot the landscape in the rest of the State are virtually invisible in Allendale County.

Where there's poverty there's crime; where there's crime there's fear and unfortunately, rural Allendale, South Carolina has more violent crime than the average American city and as we've documented, the State of South Carolina boasts the most violent crime in the U.S.

So in somewhat more prosperous neighboring Hampton, County, concealed weapons training is available under the water tower.

Learn more about Allendale, South Carolina from the town itself.

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