The South Isn’t Really Doing All That Badly

The Wall Street Journal says today that the South, after years of improvement, is now falling further behind the Northeast and other regions. Here’s the chart:

The Journal’s chart starts at 1890, which makes it a little hard to see that, in fact, the South’s convergence with other regions had pretty much stopped by 1980. Here’s a simpler chart that makes this clearer:

There’s not much happening here. The South had a couple of bad years in 2013-15, but aside from that its median income has puttered along for decades at about 85 percent of the level of the West and the Northeast, and it’s actually continued to gain ground on the Midwest. It hardly seems like there’s any real trend here aside from—maybe—a slow drift downward since 2000 vs. the West and Northeast.

That said, I’d be interested to find out what happened in 2013-15. That was a fairly dramatic drop and it happened in comparison to every other region—and it changes the whole character of the trendlines. However, nothing comes immediately to mind.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate