GEOGRAPHY OF POVERTY: HEARTLAND
The following summer we continued the project in the heartland of the country, where we focused our attention deep into the old industrial enclaves that dot the so-called Rust Belt, a vast stretch of post-industrial towns that once turned natural resources into economic wealth from the Great Lakes to the upper Midwest states. But with advancements in automation and the expansion of the global economy and trade, many of the industrial towns that once served as the country’s economic heartbeat are now on life support. Economic decline here has been happening for decades with thousands of laid-off workers over the years. Recently, the area lost two of its largest employers — U.S. Steel and Republic Steel. After months of layoffs, both finally halted operations in the spring of 2016. Devastating the local economy further. There’s deep resentment among many workers who see foreign countries siphoning off jobs and little being done by Washington to protect the livelihoods of American workers.