Geology and Election 2000: Economics and Land Use

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences,Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

There seems to be little correlation between counties in the uK belt and production per acre. If anything the uK belt has sonewhat lower productivity in Alabama.
Likewise market value by county shows little correlation.

Farm Ownership

Corporate farm ownership shows no obvious correlation with the arc
There may be a weak tendency toward higher than average partnership operation, but little more than in many other areas.
Tenant farming, that stereotypical Southern practice, shows a weak correlation with the band
But a hundred years ago, it was another story altogether.
The band does show up as having somewhat higher than average rental or leasing of farmland, but hardly a dramatic correlation.
In tandem with the higher rates of leasing and tenant farming, there is a slightly lower proportion of farms operated by full owners.
There is also a slightly lower proportion of farms operated by families and individuals.

There are some weak correlations visible in maps of economic patterns. Thereis still a Cotton Belt coinciding with much of the band but also including manyareas outside it. Much of the band has lower than average production, but withsignificant gaps. There is a slightly higher tendency to tenant farm or rentland, and a lower proportion of operator-owned farms, but nothing dramatic.

The Georgia and South Carolina portions of the band seem to mark a boundary in many cases. Forexample, it seems to mark a boundary between higher farm ownership to the NW and higher rental or leasing to the SE. It also seems to define the NW boundary of extensive cotton farming.

Statistical Correlations

In these diagrams, statistics for the Mississippi Delta counties, the UK belt counties and all other counties (the "control" group) are shown.

The Delta counties have high cotton acreage but the UK Belt counties are somewhat lower than the Control group.



The most productive cotton counties have lower poverty.

Apart from the Delta, where stereotypical tenant farming is still widespread, tenant farming is actually limited and shows little correlation with poverty.



Apart from the Delta, where tenant farming is most prevalent, the correlation between black population and tenant farming is weak.

The Delta counties make up a distinct group, but the UK Belt counties don't differ appreciably from the Control counties. They have higher black population and poverty and a greater tendency to vote democratic, but in every measure, they overlap the Control group counties. We can conclude that present day economics does not really explain the band. We must look to history.

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Geology and Election 2000: Election Returns
Geology and Election 2000: History
Geology and Election 2000: Economics and Land Use
Geology and Election 2000: Demographics
Geology and Election 2000: Demographics

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Created 23 January 2002, Last Update 24 May 2020