New Study: Wal-Mart and County-Wide Poverty

Posted by on March 25, 2005

New Economic Impact Study on Wal-Mart conducted out of Penn State University
Wal-Mart and County-Wide Poverty
by Stephan Goetz and Hema Swaminathan, Penn State University, October 2004

The presence of a Wal-Mart store hinders a community’s ability to move families out of poverty, according to this study. After controlling for other factors that influence poverty rates, the researchers found that those U.S. counties in which new Wal-Mart stores were built between 1987 and 1998 experienced a significantly smaller reduction in their poverty rates than those counties that did not add new Wal-Mart stores. Overall, the portion of families living in poverty nationwide fell from 13.1 to 10.7 percent between 1989 and 1999. Counties that gained one Wal-Mart store showed an 8 percent smaller reduction in the poverty rate compared to the national average, while those that gained two Wal-Mart stores experienced a 16 percent smaller reduction in poverty. The researchers offer several explanations for their findings.

Visit to download this study.

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