Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

October 18, 2012

Is Valdosta really one of the poorest?

-- — When a little known online publication publishes a story as sensational as “America’s Poorest Cities,” it’s sure to garner attention on the news-hungry Internet. Sure enough, at least a dozen news sites picked up some or all of the story, which shows Valdosta as the third poorest city in the country. The top 2 were from Texas, and Albany was number four.

How did the writers reach this conclusion? Based on census data, based on Metropolitan Statistical Area status, and based on one primary criteria: household income. They threw in tidbits about the high number of unemployed, without bothering to mention that their base number also included the entire population, meaning children under age 16. The publication’s editors pointed out strenuously when contacted that the story is the writer’s opinion and interpretation, which doesn’t add much to their credibility.

However, getting back to the point raised in the story, it’s a relevant topic. When looking at census data, based on the entire MSA — Lowndes, Echols, Lanier and Brooks counties — we are in one of the poorest in the country. That doesn’t mean Valdosta is one of the poorest cities, as all cities are not included in this story’s sampling.

Now that the world wide web has broadcast this story, what can be done locally to combat this image? And what are the various entities involved in job and business recruitment, i.e. the Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Authority primarily, doing to fix the underlying problem — low household income and the high percentage of individuals living below the poverty line.

Valdosta can attract retailers. But can Valdosta step it up and attract larger industries offering high paying jobs? Has the community turned away from what made this a successful, viable up and comer in the state, namely manufacturing and agriculture? These industries sustained Valdosta for many years and provided good, well paying, solid blue collar and middle income jobs. Educational opportunities are far greater today, there are more high school, tech and college graduates in the area than ever, and blaming the quality of the work force is starting to lose its luster as a viable excuse for not bringing in industry. We have the land, we have the workers, we have the infrastructure and we have a great location with a good quality of life.

Perhaps the community leadership should focus on the assets that are already here and less on what’s not. Then maybe the next time a story like this appears on the Internet, Valdosta won’t be cast in such a poor light.

1
Text Only
What We Think
  • The Times belongs to you

    The Valdosta Daily Times belongs to you. As we move forward with new leadership in our newsroom, we want you to know about our continued commitment to the communities we serve.

    July 28, 2014

  • The art of plenty to do

    In Sunday’s paper, readers found an extensive list of shows, exhibits, concerts and more for the upcoming arts seasons in Valdosta-Lowndes County.

    July 27, 2014

  • The power of One

    Christine Batson wondered the same thing that many people wonder.

    July 26, 2014

  • Thumbs Up

    THUMBS UP: To Air Force Lt. Col. David Rayman. The 75th Fighter Squadron commander recently logged 3,000 flight hours in the A-10C Thunderbolt II. A rare feat. In presenting a Moody Air Force Base story on his accomplishment in The Times, it’s good to see the face and know the name of one of the many pilots who cross our South Georgia skies. Congratulations on 3,000 and thank you for your service.

    July 26, 2014

  • Closing another summer chapter

    The South Georgia Regional Library brings its 2014 summer reading program to a close this weekend with an event that celebrates readers and writers.

    July 24, 2014

  • Countdown for voter apathy

    If you don’t think your vote counts, talk to Ellis Black and John Page today.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vote to remove signs

    Congratulations to the winners in the primary runoff election Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Runoff election counts today

    Today is an election day that started just a little more than two months ago.

    July 21, 2014

  • PSST! Only one week left

    Peach State Summer Theatre enters its final week of performances for the 2014 season. This means there are only a few more opportunities left to see “Mary Poppins,” “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” and “42nd Street.”

    July 20, 2014

  • The wisdom of animals

    Animals may be smarter than us. If you don’t think so take a look at how we humans deal with the oppressive heat of summer. Compare our activities with those of animals.

    July 19, 2014

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results