Persistent Poverty in the South Project

Poverty image

Southern Sociological Society
Persistent Poverty in the South Project

Welcome to the Persistent Poverty in the South project website.

At the 77th Annual Meeting of the Southern Sociological Society (SSS) in Charlotte, North Carolina, Past President Leslie Hossfeld announced the SSS Persistent Poverty in the South Project. This project brings together researchers, students, practitioners, elected officials, and community organizers to examine persistent poverty in 11 states in the U.S. South. The goal is to create a learning community that shares and identifies key projects aimed to alleviate poverty in persistently poor regions through research and praxis. Research teams in 11 states will meet annually at the Southern Sociological Conference to share research, project outcomes, barriers and successes and work towards broader policy recommendations for tackling poverty in the U.S. South.

The SSS Committee on Sociological Practice will take the lead on this project. Please consider joining us and these efforts. For more information contact Dr. Leslie Hossfeld at or Jill Waity at

Goals of the Project

Poverty rates in the South have always been higher than any other region in the United States. There are 353 persistent poverty counties in the US and 84% of these are in the South. This project provides a mechanism, a charge, and a space in which we address the critical issues facing the South.

This project will work in 20 persistent poverty counties across the Southern Sociological Society region to conduct focused research and scholarly engagement that examines poverty in each of these counties. This research will be represented by faculty and students from all types of institutions in the Southern Sociological Society, including:

  • small colleges
  • universities
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • economically disadvantaged counties
  • community partners
  • elected officials
  • policy makers

Please join us in this work. Together we can create a learning community, provide research briefs and tackle regional issues through sociological practice and policy development.

Photo Credit: The Daily Mail Reporter, April 23, 2012