Sometimes is difficult to be proud of where you are from, seeing Magoffin County my home being ranked one of the worst/poorest counties in Kentucky is a hard pill to swallow. In a 2010 data by the United States Census Magoffin County comes ranked in 114th out of 120 counties. Which is just terrible…
Out of 120, Magoffin is below it’s Neighboring County Jackson.
Growing up in a small town with hardly anything, I never felt like life was bad at all as a kid. Sure, in our old house I could see the dirt in one of the rooms and the ceiling where caving in. But, my mother actually had one of the “better jobs” in Magoffin County. As there wasn’t many to being with she done the very best she could in this county. She would always make just enough to not qualify for food stamps.
That’s the real problem in Magoffin. There simply is no where to work.
No Jobs in Magoffin County
Now as a 30+ Year old adult, living outside of Magoffin County. I’ve always wondered where everyone works that has a decent sized house, a RZR in their back yard living in Magoffin. I’ve never really been able to figure it out.
For the most part it seems that most people are commuting hours away. Weather it be pipe lining or traveling to the Toyota plant in Georgetown in Kentucky. Some are teachers and there are very little doctors.
Whenever I was in my 20s I worked at the only factory in town, at the time that was Joy Global (Continental Conveyor for older people). This job was very common to layoff at almost every other year. If coal was up, you had a job, if coal was down… you was at the unemployment office.
Eventually they closed the Joy Global plant in Magoffin County. It is now Logan Construction. Still to this day the only factory available to work at to make decent living wage. I’m assuming starting out is below $15/hr.
The only other positions are working at the nursing home, dollar stores, and gas stations which might pay or barely above minimum wage. Like I said there is just not much there.
The Median Family Income in Magoffin county is around $38,000 I know for a fact whenever I was working full time at Joy Global I never earned anywhere near that. That was working for $12/hr and putting in overtime, and is around when the data was collected. The family income includes everyone in the house hold that is works so maybe your spouse or significant other is working a part time job bringing the total up.
So people are commuting or they are working out of state, away from their families for weeks on end to try to make ends meet.
People have shoes and not everyone is pregnant
A stupid article from the New York Times – What’s a matter with Eastern Kentucky
Is by far one of the dumbest thing I’ve ever read in my life. This article assumes that everyone is a ignorant, redneck, racist living in eastern KY. They think that the only way to a happy life is to have skyscrapers and to have a Starbucks with a $10 cup of coffee nearby to be happy.
I hate to break it to you guys up North, but people have shoes, clothes, and not every woman is prego.
People from New York City that have never seen anything else in their life but their studio apartment 50 floors up in the sky. Completely clueless what its like to live out in the Country. They have no idea what its like to drive up and down a gravel road up a “holler” to go see one of your best friends in the middle of no where.
Eastern Kentucky is not THAT BAD...
There is one thing that Eastern KY living can give you and that’s peace and quiet. You are not surrounded by people 10ft from your house. Sure it might take you 20 minutes to go to town and pick up some groceries but the trade off is you get to have your own outdoors to run and play in.
Maybe I’m different because I grew up there. But, I enjoy being out in the country not surrounded by a house/apartment/cars 5 feet from my own driveway. Don’t get me wrong I currently live in a sub-division in Winchester,KY.
I’m surrounded by people and places to eat and work at. So it has its perks, I don’t have to travel 25 minutes to the closest IGA to get a pack of hamburger. Or a loaf of bread. My commute to work would be 5 minutes if it weren’t for stop lights. That’s what I’m trading though. I don’t want to spend the majority of my time driving to work.
That’s why I don’t live in Magoffin anymore, I know I would have to commute to work. The time I would spend driving I’d rather be doing something else than being on the road.
The truth is some people just choose not to move away from their family. It is hard and I get it, I hate being away from my family and friends. But, the truth is you rarely see them anyways when you work. Most if not everyone is traveling to their jobs, or working anyways.
Most people just choose to stay as they have land, and a home built already. It’s tough to just up and move. That’s the true story of what its like still living in Eastern KY.
Poorest County in Kentucky: Conclusion
Living in Eastern Kentucky isn’t as bad as these big city people like to imagine. But, to make a life now whenever the coal industry has hit rock bottom you either have to move away or commute. I’ve chosen to move away and focus on the Technology field.
Magoffin has a problem, it doesn’t have work. If it had work I’d move back in a heartbeat. The expansion of the Mountain Parkway might help with that, that is the rumor going around anyways. It’s suppose to bring jobs back home….
Only time will tell, but for now Magoffin County you are ranked at the bottom of the list. It’s sad to see this happen to my home town but I’m hopeful they can eventually turn it around.
As always be sure to follow me over on Twitter – @thesmango for news on Kentucky, Sports, and more.