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Below we list articles and reviews from The Bulletin of the North Carolina Sociological Association and our WWW pages which focus on the sociology of North Carolina. So often our books only mention national patterns, leaving us wondering about specific states and/or regions.

Here are the articles which focus on North Carolina:



The Relationship Between Race and Criminal Justice Sentencing in North Carolina
by Deborah M. Richardson


    Research on the effects of race on criminal justice sentencing has shown mixed results. Unnever and Hembroff (1988) have even found a real randomness in sentencing practices which has gone unexplained. Chicicos and Waldo (1975) challenged the idea that social class influenced the sentence of courts in California. Jankovic (1978), however, finds that there have been claims of racial and social class bias in the American criminal justice system for the past 50 years. As expected, lower class and African American defendants are more likely to serve jail time than others. Numerous others, including Walker (1983), have even found similar results in other nations.

North Carolina's First Offender Program

The North Carolina First Offender Program was set up in 1990 in order to provide structured alternative sentencing and substance abuse education for first-time misdemeanor drug and alcohol offenders. In theory the program does not allow for bias in sentencing since outcome is based on performance of the offender. Prior to the offender's court date, he/she must complete a 15-hour education program and not be convicted of any subsequent charges while enrolled. Those who finish the program are found not guilty. Those who do not complete the program are found guilty in District Court.

The Demography of the Offenders

All 753 first-time alcohol and drug offenders in Wake County, North Carolina in the first three years of the program (1990-1993) were included in the study. There were 602 males and 151 females. 25.3 per cent were African Americans, the mean age at first offense was 24, and the average educational level was 11 years.

The Results of the Program

Because the dependent variable had only two values (guilty=0 or not guilty=1), maximum likelihood logistic regression analysis was used to study the correlates of the completion of the program. Table 1 shows that educational level, race, marital status, student-status and seriousness of offense all were correlates of successful completion of the program and thus the sentence handed out by the courts. The age, sex or state of origin of the offender did not influence the outcomes. (Note that the ordering of the variables in the table does not influence the significance levels).

Table 1 Maximum Likelihood Logistic Regression of Convictions (Guilty=0, Not Guilty=1) _____________________________________________________________ Variable Beta Chi Square Probability Constant 3.9 22.61 0.000 Offense (1=alcohol, -0.45 19.86 0.000 2=paraphernalia 3=marijuana 4=combination of 2 and 3 Race (1=black/other, -0.65 45.02 0.000 0=white Student (0=non-student 1=student) 0.28 5.94 0.015 Marital Status -0.31 4.94 0.026 (1=single, 2=ever married, 3=married) Grade (highest grade attained) -0.22 20.65 0.000 State (1=NC, 2=other) 0.52 1.64 0.100 Sex (0=female, 1=male) 0.08 .52 0.470 Age of Offender -0.00 .01 0.934 (in years) _____________________________________________________________

Discussion of the Results

In the first three years of the program, African Americans offenders were much judged more harshly than whites. Only 30 percent of African Americans completed the program while 63 percent of whites did. Jankovic (1978) predicts this finding. This is distressing since one of the goals of the program was to eliminate racial disparity in sentencing. The more serious the charge, the less likely the completion of the program. It was surprising to find that married offenders were less likely to complete the program. Being a student helped predict success in the program.

Implications of the Findings

Since one of the goals of the First Offender program was to eliminate racial disparity in outcomes, it would be hard to assume the program has been a success, even with the controls for the variables available. But one important variable not collected by the court was resources such as transportation. The classes required were held in Cary, a very up-scale community far from Raleigh for those without a car. The Triangle Transit Authority ran only two daily routes to the class location and the routes left from Raleigh at 8:00 AM and 9:15 AM while the classes were offered only at 6:30 to 9:00 PM. It is clear that there remains a need for further research of new programs to insure that their design does not erect barriers to completion to all those who are required to participate as part of the legal system.


Chicicos, T.G. and Waldo, G. (1975). "Socioeconomic Status and Criminal Sentencing: An Empirical Assessment of a Conflict Proposition." American Sociological Review 40:753-777.

Jankovic, I. (1978). "Social Class and Criminal Sentencing." Crime and Social Justice 10:9-16.

Unnever, J.D. and Hembroff, L.A. (1988). "The Prediction of Racial/Ethnic Sentencing Disparities: An Expectation States Approach." Journal of Research and Crime and Delinquency 25:53-82.

Walker, M.A. (1983). "The Court Disposal and Remands of White, Afro-Caribbean and Asian Men." British Journal of Criminology 29:353-367.

Reviewed by George H. Conklin
Source: Sociation Volume 25, Number 1.

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Land Loss and Prosperity in North Carolina

Review of Environmental Justice, Swine Production and Farm Loss in North Carolina, by Bob Edwards (ECU) and Anthony E. Ladd (Loyola University New Orleans). Report prepared with the help of a grant from the Faculty Senate, ECU and presented at the 2nd National Black Land Loss Summer Academic Conference, 1998.

Socio-economic patterns of changes in job occupations are macro processes tied to state, national and international politics. The decline in farming as an occupation in the United States has been an on-going process as farms get larger and the number of families needed for farm labor becomes fewer and fewer each year. Between 1982 and 1997 every county in North Carolina lost farms, the average being 28.5%. In 1982 of the 11,400 farms producing pigs, 60% had fewer than 25 hogs.

Between 1989 and 1997 almost 7,000 hog producers went out of business, while in roughly the same period the number of hogs in North Carolina increased from 3.7 million to more than 10 million. New, large corporate-style hog farms were begun and were placed in the eastern part of the state.

Compared to humans, hogs can produce two to five times the amount of waste. 10,000 hogs can require as much waste treatment as a city of 17,000 humans. Unfortunately most hog waste is held in lagoons and the odor of such lagoons has caused a political storm in many rural areas of North Carolina, a fact amply documented by the authors. When sprayed on farm land, the heavy metals fed to hogs to control disease pollute the environment.

Environmental racism and discrimination predict that when an environmentally undesirable facility is begun, its location will tend to be in areas where the local population is poorly equipped to say no, either because of poverty, lack of education or racism. In addition, the hypothesis would predict that corporate farms would be implicated in driving smaller farms out of business.

Edwards and Ladd examine a number of variables to test the predictions of the environmental justice hypothesis.

The results are shown in Table 1.

The results are generally in conformity with the environmental justice perspective, conclude Edwards and Ladd. As shown in Model 3, farm loss increases in the eastern part of the state as the hog population increases. Home ownership tends to decrease farm loss. Farm loss does not seem to change black poverty rates at the .05 level. However, farm loss is associated with declining poverty rates among whites. In two of the three models, farm loss was associated with the percent of the county black.

The flooding in eastern North Carolina in September 1999 reached the 500-year levels, releasing millions of gallons of hog waste into the rivers of the state. There is no doubt that the political issue of hog farm pollution will continue to be highly important for many years to come. More consolidation has taken place since Edwards and Ladd wrote. New large-scale hog farms are now on hold while the legislature debates the environmental and social concerns.

From a sociological point of view, however, it would seem that as long as farm loss is positively associated with lower poverty levels, small farms will continue to decline in North Carolina. Small-scale farming is hard work, and not very well paid. Individual farmers can earn more money working in the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy. The urban consumer demands the lowest possible price for food, and urbanites now clearly dominate the political world.

Edwards and Ladd conclude by noting the small, non-significant but nevertheless troubling positive correlation between farm loss and black poverty. They suggest more research will be possible in this area as new data become available. One would hope that this correlate does not reflect racism in the job marketplace. With a new data series expected, this is one avenue which does need to be explored.

                     Table 1
Multiple Regression (OLS) of Farmloss in North Carolina 
on County Attributes 1982-1997. (Standardized Betas Shown)

County Characteristics                 Farm Loss
                                   Model 1    Model 2   Model 3

Environmental Justice Variables    
 Percent Homeownership               -.49**    -.46**  -.45**
 Median Years of Education           -.16      -.16    -.19
 Percent Registered to Vote           .40**     .35**   .36**
 Percent Black                        .23**     .26*    .22
 Percent Black Poverty                .14       .15     .16
 Percent Change in Black Poverty       --        --     .14
 Percent Change in White Poverty       --        --    -.22**

Control Variables
 Percent Change in Population
  Density, 1980-1990                  .27**     .27**   .23*
 Eastern County (1=yes; 0=No)         .26**     .30**   .32** 

Pork Industry Dynamics
 Percent Change in Hog Population 
  Size (1982-1992)                    .15      -.02    -.07
 Eastern County Percent Change
  Hog Population 1982, 1992            --       .24*    .24*

Adjusted R Square                     .40       .43     .47
F-Score                              9.06      9.06    8.86
DF                                  97        97      97

* Sig.  at the .05 level.
** Sig. at the .01 level.
Note:  Similar results were shown for Farm Household Loss.
1980 county characteristics are used unless otherwise noted.
Data are from Table 3 in the original paper.

Reviewed by George H. Conklin
Source: Reviewed in Sociation Volume 25, #3, November 1999.

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"Growing Up Outside the Cash Economy
in Rural North Carolina"

Book review of Dobie 'n' Me in Hoot Owl Holler by Doris Smith Bliss. Kearney, NE: Morris Publishing, 1998. A copy may be ordered by calling 828-898-9800.

Click here for the second book by the author, Echoes from Hoot Owl Holler, 2002, from the same publisher.

Note: for our foreign readers who might want some more information on the area of Boone, NC, please click here.

    Had this book been published by an academic, no doubt it might have been entitled, An Exegetical and Critical Analysis of Poverty, Strong Families and Strong Women in a Rural Appalachian Community: A Post-Feminist Examination and Reinterpretation.

    Instead it was written by a lifelong resident of the area near Boone known as Matney. Her goal is to describe the way which she grew up in a mountain family which grew their own food, buried their own dead, and existed largely outside the cash economy.

    Medical care in the mountains was primitive. Doris Smith was the seventh of eight children. Her brother, Dobie, was born last. Following his birth Doris' mother came down with childbirth fever and was not expected to live, the same fate of her father's first wife.

    Mountain culture helped out, and each child was cared for by another family for over a month of hospitalization. Her father tried to get welfare, but returned home only with two pieces of cloth. Eventually the cloth was sewn into clothes, but the mother was so weak the children had to peddle the sewing machine.

    Today in sociology we are so used to hearing about the Culture of Poverty  we have practically forgotten that it was the strong cultures of farming communities and mountain folk which guaranteed survival. In story after story, author Bliss shows how customs aided survival. Fortitude, good humor, faith and cooperation enabled people to survive while living in an economy based on hunting, gathering, farming and small jobs for cash.

    Doris' father obtained his small farm in Matney, not far from the well-known Mast General Store, by working on logging Grandfather Mountain, now itself another tourist attraction. Wood was loaded onto the Tweetsie Railroad, which was then a working railroad serving Boone.

    Tourists will recognize all three names quickly since they now exist not to support the farming folks of the area, but as destination sites for bored time-share condominium tenants. The natural beauty of the area is a magnet for worldwide tourism.

    Unlike today, the Mast General Store used to trade goods for eggs, possum skins and farming produce. Bliss writes, "Sometimes we'd hit it lucky and catch several possums in one night. The hides or fur brought a pretty good price. We usually sold ours to Mast Store. The hides had to be stretched on a board and dried. A good possum hide would bring from ten to twenty-five cents. Possum huntin' provided a mountain family with many variations, food for some, fur for money, but mostly the fun of bein' out in the hills with a bunch of younuns explorin' the woods and telln' tall tales." (p. 100).

    The stories provide more than raw information; they are also entertaining. Good humor helped make the necessity of hunting seem like fun for all. In her essays, Bliss covers many social customs, including birth and bathing rituals, religious practices and the functionality of social customs in dealing with hardship, including issues of modesty when everyone lived in close quarters. Extended nursing of children was also practiced by at least a few mothers in the area.

    Families raised most of what they ate and putting food by was required. Even feed bags were recycled for use in clothing, a custom my wife's family followed. Four feed bags sewed together made a bed sheet. Feed companies, knowing farm girls wore the bags as clothing, sometimes printed fancy patterns on the sacks.

    Towards the end of Bliss' childhood (after 1940), the monetary economy began to appear in the mountain, along with different customs. One was a mown lawn. Previously farm families let household yards grow up into grass for the hay. But trying to look modern, the Bliss family decided to buy a lawn mower, but did not have the money. So the children set out to clear a field of blackberry roots which could be sold to Wilcox Drug for homeopathic medicine. They worked really hard at this. A lawn mower was purchased and their yard then became as dysfunctional as any suburban yard.

    But then more roots were dug and Doris seriously cut her hand. They let it go, but finally she had to go to the hospital. Bliss recounts her mother said, "'Doris, I think you better go to the hospital. I'll help you get cleaned up and you can wear your new dress.' Mama had made me a new dress out of a feed sack. It was a beautiful print of sweet peas and I was eager to wear it." They hitched a ride to the hospital. To engage in conversation with the nurse, Doris asked how she liked the dress. "Proudly I told her, 'Dad bought chop feed in sacks and Momma made me this dress from them sacks.' She just looked at me and I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn't from around Matney or Banner Elk or she'd a'knowed what a chop feed sack was." (p. 136).  My wife tells a similar story about not knowing that a sheet did not have four seams until after she was in college.

    Doris Bliss has provided us with a gold mine of now nearly forgotten social customs and practices. Strong women held the families together. She includes a good many terms which would be unfamiliar to those who do not reside the American south, including the word "Holler" in the title. (A holler is a hollow which is really a mountain valley). A haint is a ghost in the mountains. A boggin is translated as a toboggin, but the reader is left to guess that a toboggin in local usage means a close-fitting hat, often knitted, not a sled.

    The social customs described by Bliss are not well remembered today. Current students have no idea what life was like in Appalachia before good roads and a cash-based economy. But we are fortunate. Doris Bliss plans a follow-up volume with more information. With any luck, an academic press should then take both books and combine them into an annotated version for college-level students studying economic development and culture change.

    I would strongly recommend the current volume for inclusion in university libraries and for use in classroom discussion in colleges, universities and high schools.

Reviewed by George H. Conklin
Reprinted from Sociation, Vol. 26, No. 1, January 2000.


Updated Fall 2004

A book reivew of Echoes from Hoot Owl Holler by Doris Smith Bliss. 2002. Published by Morris Publishing, 3212 East Highway 30, Kearney, NE, 68847. Phone: 800-650-7888.

Echoes from Hoot Owl Holler continues the author's experiences of growing up as a child on a farm near Boone, North Carolina. The book is organized around her experiences of what her childhood was like, and are arranged in no particular order. But within the short stories is considerable information of what it was like to live in the summer without shoes, wear dresses made of feed sacks, and how to survive with a minimal amount of goods purchased from stores.

America is fast forgetting what it was like to be self-sufficient on a small farm. Bliss documents the skills necessary to survive by using nature to supply wants and needs. Knowledge of how to hunt was one survial tool, where possum skins could be sold for 10 cents (or maybe a little more) to Mast General Store.

Today the Mast General Store is a tourist trap in the same old building, selling goods on credit cards. But at one time it provided a necessary service to those who still lived on the land. I found the chapter "Goin' Christmas Shoppin' at Mast Store 'n Gettin' Ready" to be especially illustrative of how simple things like the Sears Christmas catalog could be turned into decorations not be purchasing something from the catalog, but by tearing it apart to make decorations. The informal social customs of how to survive with little are interesting anthropology.

Also of interest to anthropologists would be the chapter on folk medicines. Bliss comments, "It didn't pay to get sick in those days. The cure was nearly always worse than the sickness (p. 99)." Hen Manure Tea must have been a real treat, even when the children had trouble with the formula because they could not tell hen manure from rooster manure. Boiled or not, the cure really must have been worse than the disease.

Here are some of the other suggested (but not always followed) remedies:

Drinking water from untested springs along the roads and in the fields no doubt provided a cool drink in summer, but if you got "the summer complaint" everyone seemed to know why also. At least they all knew what you were talking about. Blackberry juice was good for this problem.

The book ends on a sad note telling us her brother Dobie was killed in Vietnam. (See the review of the author's first book Dobie 'n' Me in Hoot Owl Holler above). As times move on, the relatively isolated farm family has become history which is rapidly being forgotten, along with the traditions that went with it. Doris Smith Bliss is a link to the past. Her book deserves to be read.

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"The Effects of Plant Closing on Older Workers: They Fare Poorly in North Carolina."

by Donald E. Brewer

Worker displacement is often considered a symptom of poor economic times. Further, while large job losses are expected during recessionary periods, far fewer are expected during expansionary ones (see D. Hertz, "Worker Displacement is Still Common the Late 1980's." Monthly Labor Review 1990, #5, pp. 1-7). Data for 1980 show that although workers lost more jobs during the recessionary years early in the decade than during the subsequent expansion, displacement was not uncommon even during years of rapid economic growth. By the middle of the decade, nearly 11 million workers were dislocated nationally. About 5 million workers had had three or more years tenure with their employers. Although most dislocated workers were white males between the ages of 25 and 54, there was considerable diversity in the dislocated population. There were sizable proportions of men and women, workers of all ages, and workers from all racial and ethnic groups.

In a state such as North Carolina, with historic low unemployment, it might be assumed that workers who lose their jobs would have an easy time replacing the lost income. This article examines data from the Economic Dislocated Worker Adjustment and Assistance Act (EDWAAA) Program which was begin the middle of the 1980s to help those with low skills find new jobs after layoffs.

The EDWAAA Program can be described as an upward mobility program in the service sector for low-skilled dislocated workers. The program provides training to entry-level and low- echelon workers to in order to enhance the knowledge and skills needed to find new jobs. Layoffs ranged from 1,635 at RJ Reynolds to 10 at Dayco Products and 1 at Duke Power.

The program usually targets entry-level workers, regardless of whether they are economically disadvantaged, as long as the workers is classified as a dislocated workers. A dislocated worker in North Carolina is a person who meets one or more of the following criteria: 1. has been terminated or laid off or has received a notice of termination or layoff from employment; is eligible for or has exhausted his/her entitlement to unemployment compensation, and is unlikely to return to his/here previous industry, or occupation, 2. has been terminated or has received a notice of termination of employment as a result of any permanent closure of or any substantial layoff at a plant, facility or enterprise, 3. is long-term unemployed and has limited opportunities in the same or similar occupation in the area in which the individual resides, including older individuals who may have substantial barriers to employment by reason of age, 4. was self-employed (including farmers and ranchers) and is unemployed as a result of general economic conditions in the community in which he/she resides or because of natural disasters, or 5. is a displaced homemaker.

A participant enrolled in the EDWAAA Program can take advantage of retraining, on-the-job training or classroom training. The EDWAAA Program is unique in that Employment Security Commission staff can work with local leaders and employers to design programs that specifically address the individual needs of dislocated workers. On-the-job training must be in occupations that will use the worker's abilities and provide permanent, substantial employment. Classroom training is available through the community college system.

The data reported are from records which have been recorded and kept on each worker in the State of North Carolina who was enrolled in the EDWAAA program from July 1989 to July 1992. Data would not include older workers who felt it best to try to retire rather than to accept new training. Other workers may have exhausted their unemployment benefits and were never heard from again, having left the labor force. Workers who have not received unemployment benefits cannot be tracked by the system. 4,872 workers who lost their job due to a plant (or company) closing participated in the EDWAAA program.

Table 1 presents the raw means showing the new wage of those who finished the EDWAAA program. The most important finding is how age adversely affects the next pay for the next job. Younger workers obtained a small raise, but for all other age groups pay was less in the new job compared to the old job. The gap was highest at the group over 50, where the loss was 29.3 per cent. Loss of pay for blacks was slightly higher than that for whites.

It is necessary to control for education, sex and race in looking at wages. The last column of Table 1 gives the full impact of unemployment on the various age groups through least squares means. The 51+ age group is significantly different from other age groups 21-30, 31-40 and 41- 50. In sum, after controlling for the wages of the older workers by race, sex, and schooling, the salaries for the older workers is equal to the salaries of those workers under 20. After controlling for the effects of age, race, schooling, and old wages, females' wages are higher than males'. Controls reveal no surprises in the new wages by level of schooling. Wage and schooling vary directly. The final wages for whites are higher than the final wages of blacks. Discrimination by race is reestablished by the analysis.

We conclude that older workers experience the greatest loss of wages between a plant's closing and reemployment. When race, schooling, sex and old wages are controlled, older workers wages only equal those of workers under 20. The drop in wages for the oldest workers was 29 percent, about twice what would normally be expected. This drop in wage occurs despite the economic resources that older workers possess. Black workers earn 11 percent less than whites, when all factors are adjusted.

The data also show that females had a higher mean wage than males. This may be an artifact of the sample. Perhaps this reflects local conditions found in South. It is also possible that EDWAAA programs attract high-income females who, after a plant closing, feel that they need assistance in finding a new position. Given limits of the data, this point remains unsolved. In any case, older workers do poorly in the job market in North Carolina, and the gap is far greater than is usually expected, with wages reduced to those who are just starting out.


Table 1

Raw and Adjusted Means for Dependent and Independent Variables
            Table 1

Dependent   New Wage  Old Wage  %Diff.   N   Adjusted for

Variable    in $ per                         All Categories

              hour                               Shown



 Below 20   6.04        5.89     +2.5    50       6.13

 21-30      7.09        8.23    -13.5   929       6.90

 31-40      7.27        9.01    -19.3  1252       6.99

 41-50      7.18        9.06    -20.8   824       6.97

 51+        6.55        9.26    -29.3   414       6.25



 Male       6.54        8.11    -19.3  2194       6.28

 Female     8.05       10.00    -19.5  1275       7.02



Not Hs Grad 6.00        7.32    -18.0   455       6.12

 Hs Grad    6.64        8.32    -20.2  1779       6.51

 Some Col   8.18       10.04    -18.5  1235       7.32



 White      7.44        9.10    -18.2  2258       7.03

 Black      6.48        8.24    -21.4  1211       6.27


Reviewed by George H. Conklin.

Miles Simpson, NCCU, was the thesis advisor.

Source:  Reprinted from Sociation, Vol 24, No. 2, 

April/May 1998.

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Demography Predicts Church Membership Rates in North Carolina
by Thessalenuere Hinnant

    Church membership rates in the United States as a whole increased dramatically from colonial times to the present day (Fink and Stark 1992). In 1776 the church membership rate was only 17%, but by 1800 it had increased to 37%. In 1906 more than half the population of the United States was a member of a church. By 1980 membership rates rose even more to 62 percent. In 1990 church membership rates in North Carolina held at about 62 percent of the population.
Bainbridge (1990) has summarized four theories to explain variations in church membership.

    Within North Carolina, Powell (1989) has argued that the historic data suggests that religious adherence in the coastal region has been higher than in the Piedmont or Mountain areas of our state.
Testing Theories for North Carolina
    It is clear that the effects of each theory interact with each other. Further, without controlling for age and sex differences among the areas of North Carolina it is not possible to see the net effects of any one of the theories. The following variables were analyzed for each of North Carolina's 100 counties for 1990.
Predicting Actual Results
    While theory predicts many correlates of religious behavior, multivariate analysis reveals that only four variables significantly predict religious membership differences in North Carolina.

    Taken together, high income correlates with higher church membership, as do the proportion of the population under five and over 65. Region also predicts church membership, but controlling for the demographic differences above, it is the mountains of the state which have higher church membership rates, the opposite of what was expected. The multiple r of the variables was quite high at .58. The other variables, including race, did not achieve the .05 level of significance.

    In conclusion we note that testing theories with empirical data is not always easy. But the results of the empirical analysis support most closely the life cycle theory of religions membership for North Carolina. Race does not change observed rates when the demographic variables are controlled, nor does urbanization. Income increases church membership, despite secularization theory which would predict the opposite. Mountain regions of the state, all things considered, show higher rates of religious membership than other parts of the state.
    It is always possible to think up a theory to justify any particular result, but why region of the state would influence religious membership rates would be hard to predict. It would seem that many theories of religious life are irrelevant to predicting actual results in North Carolina. But it is quite clear that controlling for the age structure of the various counties is essential before any theory of religious membership can be properly tested, since demographic differences can explain high levels of observed differences among the counties.

Bainbridge, William S. (1990). "Explaining the Church Membership Rate." Social Forces 68(4), pp. 1287-1296.

Fink, Roger and Rodney Stark (1992). The Churching of America, 1776-1992: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Powell, William S. (1989). North Carolina Through Four Centuries. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press.

Reviewed by George H. Conklin
Thesis advisor: Robert Wortham
Reprinted from Sociation24:3, Fall 1998
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Labor Availability and Job Creation in North Carolina

by Al Delia, Kenneth Wilson, Richard Brockett, Claudia Williams, Melanie Meekins and Wandy Nieves

    The State of North Carolina is establishing a Global TransPark. This is an airport devoted to manufacturing. It would be located in Kinston, in the midst of a region with limited employment opportunities.

    A survey was conducted from January 9-22, 1998 in order to see that if and when the Global TransPark were a success, would there be enough workers in the region interested in working at the airport? Work would be mostly at night, when large air transports from distant locations would land at the park, and employees would assemble parts from different locations. The same planes would then fly the assembled goods directly to cities in the USA where the products could be sold. Total time on the ground would be short, perhaps 8 hours.

    For the park to succeed, a stable and highly motivated workforce would be required. Following in the distant footsteps of Weber, can we assume that a rural workforce in Eastern NC would have interest in working nights at an airport?  Is location a problem due to a lack of workforce which might be found in a large city?  Or, on the contrary, would a rural workforce with few job opportunities jump at the chance for factory type jobs?

    The survey found that over one-third of the respondents living in six neighboring counties were interested in the proposed new jobs. A quarter of those now employed full-time expressed an interest even from more distant counties. Projecting to the population as a whole, 113,717 persons would be interested in working at the Global TransPark. In addition, 11,548 unemployed and 25,768 students would be interested.

    Level of education showed a strong association with interest with work at the Global TransPark (see Table 1). The highest rates of interest were among high school graduates.

    The report concludes that were a company to locate at the Global TransPark, they would have a very large number of applicants who were qualified for factory-type work, and thus the company could be very selective. Further, it is essentially a non-union workforce. Over half (58.9%) of the respondents with family income under $25,000 would be interested in employment, even considering that night work would intrude upon family life.

    It is clear that for residents of North Carolina in the eastern part of the state that employment opportunities are highly valued. Even the employed would consider the newly created jobs in great numbers. What the residents of North Carolina lack is not the desire for factory jobs, but the opportunity to be employed. Any new employment in the eastern part of the state would be highly welcome according to the report.

Table 1
Interest in Working at the Proposed GlobalTranspark
by Educational Level of Respondent in
the Counties Nearest the Site (N=852)
                                             Not Interested   Interested    Row Total
Not Gone to School                      --                   .3%             .1%
HS Not Completed                      5.0%            14.3%           8.2%
High School Grad                       21.9%            35.7%        26.6%
Post HS, no degree                     28.7%            28.9%        28.8%
2-year Community                      12.9%            12.6%        12.8%
4-year College                            18.3%              6.5%        14.2%
Some Graduate School                 4.1%                 .7%         2.9%
Graduate Degree                          9.1%               1.0%         6.3 %
Column Totals                           65.5%              34.5%

Chi Square Likelihood Ratio = 92.04, DF=7,
Sig .00000, Missing observations = 3.

Source: "Global Transpark Labor Survey Analysis," by Al Delia, Kenneth Wilson, Richard Brockett, Claudia Williams, Melanie Meekins and Wandy Nieves. Greenville: Regional Development Services, East Carolina University, 1998.

Reviewed by George H. Conklin
Reprinted from Sociation, April/May 1999, Volume 25, Number 2, page 5.

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The Southern Black Belt:  A National Perspective
Ronald C. Wimberley and
Libby V. Morris

The South is a region with a special history.  After the Civil War, the rural South was characterized by farm tenancy.  This century tenancy was followed by agricultural mechanization and technology that displaced many from rural areas and led them to migrate to other places, become dependent, or both.

The focus is not simply the Old South states that rank poorly in socioeconomic and life conditions.   Rather, the focus is on the status of the people regardless of where they live today.

The Southern Black Belt features numerous color maps which demonstrate the human ecology of the nation as a whole.  For example Map 1 shows the percentage of population which is black.  This map demonstrates what the authors call "The Black Belt."

Percentage of Black Population in United States Counties


Education can be mapped in a similar manner.   The book compares black educational attainment in the counties of the the United States to that of whites.

Counties with Highest Percentage of Blacks Without High School Diploma

Now please compare the above map to a similar map for white educational attainment.

Counties Highest in Percent of Whites With No High School Diploma

The history of the rural past shows quite well in both maps.

The book would be useful to courses demography, human ecology, socio-economic status, stratification, migration or in any course where social inequality is considered as a variable.

The Southern Black Belt is published by TVA Rural Studies, The University of Kentucky, 400 Agricultural Engineering Building, Lexington, KY 40546.  For more information you may email or view by clicking here.

(Reviewed by the Webmaster).

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