Residents in the rural parts of the Memphis area are struggling:
- Money is scarce and debt is high in Tipton Co, Fayette Co, rural suburbs like Arlington, and across the Mid-South.
- Foreclosures are on the rise, which can affect everyone’s property values and give neighbors a sense of unease.
- And we’re hearing about it from the people who work in our office, friends and relatives, and many clients.
But why is it happening?
This is a particularly hard time for the middle class, and when middle incomes suffer, rural areas tend to suffer as well.
This is because as incomes divide, more money makes it into the cities, and the cost rises for living a quiet, peaceful life further from the noise and hassle. Better jobs, if you can get them, require an expensive commute. And lower wages don’t go as far as they used to.
A December 2015 USDA report shows the recession is alive and well in rural America. Employment only grew 1% in the last year and is still below its pre-recession peak. (In comparison, employment in urban areas grew 2% and has been growing since 2011.)
Children have been especially hard hit: rural child poverty rates have risen since the recession to about 25%, and 9.6% of rural children live in “deep poverty,” which means they live below half of the poverty level.
And yet, I love the rural parts of Memphis and know it isn’t all bad news. There are still so many families digging in deep, supporting each other, and making a home in quiet, loving communities. The churches are still full. Homes are still selling. Jobs are still being created.
So there’s no reason to lose hope, even if you’re in a desperate situation right now. Perhaps in the recession, you’ve had to deal with some serious setbacks:
- job loss
- medical problems
- and the debt that comes with it
Those debts can add up and follow you around. But they should never be allowed to destroy you.
If you live in a rural area of Memphis and you’re struggling with debts you can’t pay, I can help. We have people in our office who are your neighbors and who understand exactly what you’re going through. We can help you keep your house and your car, and start a better life in the community you love.
Contact me today to get started. The conversation is free, and I look forward to talking with you.