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Wal-Mart and County-Wide Poverty

Counties that gained a Wal-Mart™ store experienced smaller reductions in family poverty rates during the 1990s than did counties not gaining a Wal-Mart store. That is the central finding of a new study examining the effect of the chain on county poverty rates. This result holds after other factors affecting changes in poverty over time are accounted for, including initial poverty and whether the county already had a Wal-Mart at the beginning of the decade.

by Stephan Goetz and Hema Swaminathan

Counties that gained a Wal-Mart™ store experienced smaller reductions in family poverty rates during the 1990s than did counties not gaining a Wal-Mart store. That is the central finding of a new study examining the effect of the chain on county poverty rates. This result holds after other factors affecting changes in poverty over time are accounted for, including initial poverty and whether the county already had a Wal-Mart at the beginning of the decade.