With a population of about 1.4 billion people, China still has at least 70 million people living below the poverty line, according to government figures, although the UN has previously put the figure at over 200 million. - New Vision
|Rostow's Ladder of Development, Walt Whitman Rostow 1960|
Conner Lewis, Chase Fulkerson, Grey Harral, Khang Pham
AP Human Geography Period 6
Colorado Case Study Write-UpAccording to the research conducted by our group on all of the poorest counties in each region of Colorado, including the western slope, eastern plains, Front Range, southern part of the state near New Mexico and high country, it was found that Costilla County is the poorest county in Colorado, and the one requiring the most help. Costilla County is a large county in southern Colorado, in the San Luis Valley, which has the ninth smallest population out of Colorado’s 64 counties. The seat of Costilla County is in the city of San Luis, the largest city in the county. The county has a population of 3,524, which has progressively shrunk from its peak population in the 1940's, at around 7,000 people. It’s population has shrunk primarily due to emigration from the county to more wealthy regions of the state and country. This poverty is caused by four major reasons, all of which could be fixed. The first reason is that there is a distinct lack of education within the county, which is both a cause and a result of the county’s poverty. The second reason is the low wages paid by employers in Costilla County, which has most of its population working in the primary industry sector. The third reason is that there are not enough employers in the area, leading to a large amounts of unemployment among the population. The final reason is that there is not enough quality healthcare available to the citizens in the county.
Costilla County, and the San Luis Valley as a whole, has a distinct lack of good education, be it public or private. Costilla county as a whole has only 7 public schools, one being a Pre-K. The two high schools in the county get a D+ and a C+ ratings based on the scoring averages of the students within each school on standardized tests such as the SATs and ACTs. This is only further shown in the literacy of the adult population, which was found to be at only 75%, according to the Institute of Education Science, significantly below both the state average of 90% and the national average of 86%. This low literacy is a major factor contributing to the poverty in the state, as it means that the illiterate population cannot advance beyond low paying blue collar jobs. This is proven by the fact that around 50% of the work force, as far as can be gauged based on the fact that around 50% of employers in the area are involved in agriculture, ranching or mining, is involved in some sort of primary industry, mainly agriculture and ranching. Much of the rest of the population is in the secondary stage, in things such as trucking and other forms of transportation as well as being involved in things such as retail and other stores. A small amount of the population is within the tertiary stage, with these being doctors, nurses, and government officials. This is estimated to be around 5%. It limits them from advancing into higher paying careers, leading to a worse economy in the area overall.
As well as having low education, Costilla County also holds the title of having some of the, if not the, worse average wages of any county in Colorado. This is a cause of the poverty in the county, as it means that the average person working in the county makes very low amounts of money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly wage of Costilla is 529$. This is almost half the national average of 1,000$ or the state average of 1,029$. With an average weekly wage of 529$, this means that the average yearly wage within the county of Costilla is 27,508 dollars. This is only 3,000$ more than the poverty level for a house of four, meaning that if a household has one working member, a stay at home parent, and two children, they would be almost at the poverty level. The average yearly income of 27,508 dollars is nearly a third of the average yearly income of the county of Boulder, which is 61,048 dollars, with a yearly income of 1,174 dollars. This low weekly wage is the largest reason why 5.80% of the population of Costilla County lives below the poverty line. All this is a clear factor which shows the poverty and need for development present in Costilla county.
The third thing which shows that Costilla County needs to be developed and improved is the high unemployment in the area, which while not as bad as it was several years ago, it is still bad compared to the rest of Colorado. The unemployment in Costilla County, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is at 7.60%, which is poor compared to the state average of 4.20%, and the national average of 4.90%. While not too high above these two averages, as one of the worst unemployment rates in Colorado, it is a clear sign that the county needs aid in developing a stronger economy. This high unemployment is no doubt caused by both a lack of employers and a lack of education and literacy, which seriously limits a person’s ability to get a high paying job or a job at all, leading to the egregious average weekly wage found in the region. This unemployment is a sign that more employers need to move to the region so that the currently unused labor can be utilised to increase the standard of living in the county, by raising the amount of wealth going into the region, which will then allow for an increase in spending and taxes to aid the county's public schools.
The final reason for which our group believes Costilla County needs to be developed more than any other county in Colorado is their lack of healthcare. This lack of healthcare is clearly displayed in the high infant mortality rate, which is a rate of how many infants die out of 1000 live births. The infant mortality rate of Costilla County is 4.8, meaning there are around 5 infant deaths for every 1000 births in the county. This is actually lower than Boulder County's infant mortality rate of 5.9, as well as the national average of 6.1 and the state average of 5.6, but it is very important to note the fact that the population of Boulder County is about 100 times that of Costilla, meaning that despite the fact that there are hundreds of more births in Boulder than Costilla every year, they are able to maintain a relatively close infant mortality rate. This reflects on how poor the medical centers in Costilla really are. Costilla has 4 medical centers, which is rather good for their population of around 3,000, however these hospitals are underfunded and understaffed, especially due to the low literacy in the area. The lack of good healthcare in the region is another reason why Costilla County is the county requiring the most aid in Colorado.
The group found that the most important factor in determining an area's development is the amount of people who are literate and well educated, as this will aid in showing many other key features of the area. One is that this will show whether or not the population works in primary, secondary or tertiary industries. This is important as this will be a clear indicator of the average pay in the region, as primary industries tend to have the lowest wages, with tertiary having higher ones. Second is the literacy will also indicate things such as healthcare, as if an area is poorly educated, it means that the area does not have as many people fit to work in the medical field, and all those who can tend to leave for higher paying areas. Along with this, illiteracy tends to also follow a general trend with unemployment, as it is usually harder for those who can’t read to find work, even in the primary industry. All of this shows why literacy is one of the key factors in determining an area’s development.
There are, however, several different volunteer opportunities available in Costilla County. The first is work at the Ventero Open Press Fine Art Program, which promotes both the development of art by children, but also general education for all ages. The second promotes a similar goal, the San Luis Museum and Cultural Center, which promotes the history and culture of the county and of the town of San Luis, and has several volunteer opportunities helping at events to promote learning and awareness among children. Meals on Wheels is another opportunity to help, where one can transport meals to those who cannot afford them, and do not have the ability to go out and get them on their own. The next volunteer opportunity is the Rocky Mountain PBS, which allows for volunteers to aid the RMPBS network in educating children by helping the station with administrative duties and also helping run programs such as the Super School News program, which introduces young children to the world of media by allowing them to write and air a two minute segment on their school over the network, spreading awareness about the school in the progress. The next volunteer opportunity is at La Pluente, a church found in the nearby county of Alamosa, which runs volunteer programs in Costilla as well. These volunteer opportunities tend to revolve around spending time with children and teaching them through summer programs and field trips. The final volunteer opportunity we found is the Costilla County Library, which allows for volunteers to sign up and aid in teaching children how to read so that they may get farther in life, while also holding programs to get children interested in learning in general.
This video covers the development of Scandinavian countries, and how their development is related to their political policies as well as how concepts like socialism do/don't play into development.