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State of the South Archives

STATE OF THE SOUTH 2011STATE OF THE SOUTH 2011: Looking Ahead: Leadership for Hard Times

The concluding chapter of MDC's The State of the South 2010 series finds that for the region to move forward, Southern leaders must focus on a "North Star" of long-term priorities for real recovery to take place. With 2011 shaping up as a year of reckoning and most Southern states facing budget shortfalls that threaten recent economic progress, the region's leaders must focus on public policy and investments that remove the structural barriers that hold people back - such as transportation problems, inadequate schools, health and housing inequities, and a lack of internship opportunities. One key to the region's long-term economic health will be improving the economic prospects for African-American and Latino young people.

"Put bluntly, a large majority of older adult Southerners are whites, while blacks, Hispanics and other recently arrived ethnic groups form a near majority of younger Southerners," the report's research finds. "It is imperative that the South sustain efforts to close educational achievement gaps and assure that tomorrow's more diverse workforce has the skills to thrive in a high-tech, high-wage, knowledge-centered economy." 

STATE OF THE SOUTH 2010STATE OF THE SOUTH 2010: Chapter 2: Talent and Skill: Antidotes to Uncertainty

The second chapter of The State of the South 2010 series examines the South's lagging educational attainment rates, particularly among African Americans and Latinos. Most Southern states lag not just the U.S. but many developed nations in college completion rates-just as national recognition is growing that improving the number of people who get a college certificate or degree is crucial to competing in the global economy. 

"For states and communities, a citizenry with a higher level of educational achievement has multiple pay-offs," the report says. "For one thing, people who go beyond high school have a habit of avoiding poverty; people with some college education or better tend to figure out how to sustain themselves in the middle class. What's more, the more parents are educated, the less likely their families and their children will fall into poverty; an aggressive offensive to increase the numbers of young people with degrees and credentials amounts to a frontal assault on intergenerational poverty." 

STATE OF THE SOUTH 2010STATE OF THE SOUTH 2010: Chapter 1: Beyond the 'Gilded Age'  

From 1980 until 2000, the South was on a trajectory to erase the poverty gap that perennially separated the region and the rest of the country. During this gilded age, the South led the country in population growth and job creation while developing a broader middle class than it had ever known. The poverty gap between the Southern states and the rest of the country diminished from 4 percent in 1980 to 1.4 percent in 1998, moving hundreds of thousands of people above the poverty line and giving them a chance at the American dream. But the two recessions of the last ten years created a "lost decade," pushing too many Southerners back from fleeting middle class prosperity and wearing away the veneer of the gilded age to reveal an uncertain foundation. 

State of the South 2007STATE OF THE SOUTH 2007: Philanthropy as the South's "Passing Gear" calls upon the region's philanthropic organizations to think more creatively and act more boldly to help the South address its self-limiting inequities and spur its competitiveness in a global economy. While the South has advanced economically, it still faces wide gaps in family economic well-being, education, and health: the 2000 Census found that nearly one out of five Southern children lives in a household below the poverty level. The South needs more philanthropy and philanthropy that addresses the twin challenges of equity and competitiveness. 

MDC commissioned four experts to write papers regarding the challenge to philanthropy posed by lingering inequities in the South. Click the links below to read.

See what Ambassador James Joseph, former U.S. ambassador to South Africa and chair of MDC's board, has to say about philanthropy's vision for the future in his speech titled, Philanthropy and Equity: Challenges and Opportunities for the American South.

STATE OF THE SOUTH 2004STATE OF THE SOUTH 2004: Fifty Years After Brown v. Board of Education "MDC's first-rate report calls upon Southern leaders to step up and meet serious public education issues, especially the status of the high school. Further, this report emphasizes once again the primacy of a strong teacher corps and elimination of high poverty schools. Both of these matters merit immediate and constant attention to assure change. I would urge the report be read far and wide." - William Friday, President Emeritus, University of North Carolina

STATE OF THE SOUTH 2002STATE OF THE SOUTH 2002: Shadows in the Sunbelt Revisited - While several metropolitan areas have burgeoned and some rural communities have made a successful economic transition, economic shadows have darkened in many Southern rural and urban places that have no distinctive competitive advantages in today's economy, according to a panel of distinguished Southerners convened by MDC. State of the South 2002, the fourth in the biennial series, revisits MDC's groundbreaking 1986 report, Shadows in the Sunbelt, and offers recommendations to spread economic progress into the region's shadows. Funded by the Ford Foundation.

STATE OF THE SOUTH 2000STATE OF THE SOUTH 2000 - A regional-level analysis of the impact of globalization on the Southern economy, with an analysis of trends in business mix changes, trade, foreign direct investment, occupational mix changes, immigration, and workforce readiness. The third in MDC's biennial series analyzing the Southern economy, the report Includes recommendations for the region's decision-makers and was funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Ford Foundation, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Education.

STATE OF THE SOUTH 1998STATE OF THE SOUTH 1998 - A regional-level analysis of 30-year trends in population, jobs, income, poverty, and education in the South, concentrating on how various segments of the region's population are faring, with special attention to gender, ethnicity, and education levels. Includes recommendations for the region's policymakers. Funded by the Ford Foundation, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Wachovia Foundation.

INCOME AND WEALTH IN THE SOUTHINCOME AND WEALTH IN THE SOUTH - A 1998 State of the South Interim Report analyzing the distribution and concentration of income and wealth among Southern families by race/ethnicity and relative to the U.S. as a whole.



STATE OF THE SOUTH 1996 - A state-level analysis of 30-year trends in population, jobs, income, poverty, and education in the South, with projections to the year 2010 and recommendations for the region's policymakers. Funded by BellSouth Corporation, the Ford Foundation, the Wachovia Foundation, and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.


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