GEOGRAPHY OF POVERTY: NORTHWEST
In the Northwest, we get into Native America disputes and systemic oppression of the tribes. Of the 353 counties in the U.S. deemed by the federal government to be persistently poor (meaning the poverty rate has been above 20% for three consecutive decades) 85% are in rural areas that included Native American reservations like Standing Rock and its Oglala Sioux counterparts on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Standing Rock poverty rate is 43.2%, nearly triple the national average of 14.5%. There is little economic activity to speak of and childhood mortality, suicide and dropout rates are among the highest in the nation. Food insecurity is vast. Access to quality healthcare and education is lacking. Far too many go without electricity or running water. What tribes like the Standing Rock do have, though, is land and water and they have been forced to fight a series of battles to control and capitalize on the natural resources found on their own land.