This story in the Washington Post may provide insight into why working-age people are leaving South e Dakota and what accounts for the decline in Democratic voter registration. The rural slump into poverty is basis for the problems examined in this story.
Here are some pertinent quotations:
It’s the kind of poverty that can affect anyone who finds themselves in a place when the native industries disappear, as they have in Southeast Colorado and other rural areas across America.“I think it’s more of a place-based poverty than it is demographic,” says Tracey Farrigan, an economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture who is studying how rural poverty has spread. “People are moving to areas where they can afford to live, which are areas with less support for them. It’s kind of a cycle. So the places are poor, and the people are poor.”“You could ask ten people what they think of the area, and nine of them would say they can’t stand it, but they never leave,”Most of their kids have already left town, for good reason.Boredom, it turns out, is a dangerous thing. Without so much as a skate park, an arcade, a movie theater, or even a nearby mall to hang out in, kids find less wholesome activities: Drug use and early pregnancy are everywhere.Poverty in early childhood is correlated with significantly lower incomes down the road, as well as higher incarceration and pregnancy rates, behavioral problems, and depressed educational achievement.