As Wal-Mart Grows, So Does Poverty

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know how concerned I am about Wal-Mart's history of abusive practices, well documented in Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. A fascinating study in Social Science Quarterly describes how the presence of the world's top retailer affects poverty rates in America, and it isn't good.

Penn State University researchers estimate some 20,000 American families have dropped below the poverty level due to the astounding growth of Wal-Mart between 1987-98. What's more, in counties where Wal-Mart stores are located, more than 15 percent of families depend on food stamps compared to the national norm (8 percent).

The other major concern cited frequently by Wal-Mart critics and also shown in the study: The death of independent local businesses, aka "mom and pop stores," that, in turn, affecting the wholesalers, lawyers, accountants and other local professionals providing them services.

Contrast that with the Walton family who owns Wal-Mart and donates less than 1 percent of their annual income to charity.

Social Science Quarterly, Vol. 87, No. 2, June 2006: 211

Science Blog May 17, 2006

St. Louis Business Journal May 17, 2006

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