Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Wal-Mart and Poverty: A new study has found that Wal-Mart makes Americans poorer. Cynics may complain that they didn’t need any new research to tell them something so blindingly obvious, but this analysis by Stephan Goetz, a professor of agricultural and regional economics at Pennsylvania State University, and Hema Swaminathan for the International Center for Research on Women, was published in the latest issue of Social Science Quarterly, and seems—on first appearances—quite robust.

During the last decade, dependence on the food stamp program nationwide increased by 8 percent, while in counties with Wal-Mart stores the increase was almost twice as large at 15.3 percent, according to the study.

Perhaps the most interesting finding: “The demise of mom-and-pop stores leads to the closing of local businesses that supplied those stores, such as wholesalers, transporters, logistics providers, accountants, lawyers and others. Many of these are higher-paying jobs. The study concludes that it is likely that these more highly-educated individuals depart from the rural community in pursuit of better opportunities elsewhere, contributing to the rural-to-urban exodus over the last decade, leaving behind those with fewer opportunities and raising the poverty rate.”

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