Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007
SC still has a long way to go to get out of the basement
OCT. 7, 2007 - - A look at statistics about South Carolina
can be as discouraging as encouraging. In some areas - - the
unemployment rate, child poverty and child deaths - - the
state has improved marginally. In other areas, such as overall
health care and violent crime, things aren't better.
Two years ago, we offered a look at various statistics to
highlight how conventional wisdom about the state - - that
it ranks high in things that it should be low in, and low
in things it should excel in - - was mostly true.
These numbers are important because politicians could use
them as motivation to work on the big problems that impact
South Carolinians - - health, education and crime - - instead
of fiddling with more marginal, hot-button issues to get elected.
Here's another big list of lasts and firsts:
physical health can stand improvements
Face it. Compared to other states, South Carolinians generally
aren't a healthy lot:
- 1st in stroke. The state has the highest rate of
stroke victims - 65.2 per 100,000 residents. (National
Center for Health Statistics.)
- 3rd in diabetes. S.C. is tied with Tennessee for
the third highest adult diabetes rate (9.4 percent). (Trust
for America's Health.)
- 3rd highest in infant mortality. According to the
survey, the state went from the fourth worst to third worst
in infant mortality rates.
- 4th in low birthweight babies. Conversely, it went
from third worst to fourth worst in low birthweight babies,
although the actual rate increased slightly. (KidsCount.)
- 5th worst place for kids. KidsCount
ranks South Carolina as the 46th out of 50 in places for
children to grow. Two years ago, it was 45th.
- 5th in adult obesity. South Carolina is tied with
Tennessee in adult obesity with 27.8 percent of the population
classified as obese. The state is seventh in the number
of overweight children from 10 to 17 (18.9 percent), according
to the Trust
for America's Health.
- 6th in hypertension. Almost 30 percent of South
Carolinians have hypertension, the sixth-highest rate in
the country. (Trust
for America's Health).
- 17th highest in child deaths. An improvement. Two
years ago, the state had the seventh highest rate of child
- 18th in no health insurance. Almost 16 percent
of South Carolinians don't have health insurance, slightly
higher than the national average, according to the National
Coalition on Health Care.
South Carolina continues to have high unemployment - - fifth
highest in August 2007, compared to fourth highest two
years ago. But the rate has dropped from 6.6 percent to 5.6
percent, which is a vast improvement. Other numbers:
- 10th highest in food stamps. Some 12.4 percent
of South Carolinians - - a 3.2 point increase from five
years ago - - are on food stamps, according to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
- 15th in poverty rate. Census figures show some
13.7 percent of South Carolinians live in poverty, a slight
dip from two years ago. But some 22 percent of the state's
children live in poverty, according to KidsCount
- - the 10th highest rate in the country (which is better
than the 7th worst ranking two years ago).
- 49th in per capita growth. The state's per capita
economic growth was second-lowest in the nation over the
past three years, according to the US
Bureau of Economic Research.
education little changed
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Numbers on crime and education are little changed:
- 1st in violent crime. Two years ago, the state
was second in violent crime; now it is first, according
to the FBI.
- 7th in domestic violence. The state used to be
sixth worst in the number of women killed by men. Now it's
seventh, the Violence
Policy Center said.
- 49th in police training. A recent USC
study highlighted that the state requires the second
lowest amount of hours (349) for training police officers.
- 49th in SAT. The state's SAT
ranking remained 49th, compared to two years ago. While
the actual average score fell slightly in South Carolina,
many educators point out that the SAT ranking isn't an accurate
measure of success because some states don't require most
of their students to take it, which skews results. They
say the National
Assessment of Education Standards, which shows S.C.
students performing more in the lower middle of the country's
scores, is a more accurate gauge.
Bottom line: We can do a lot better, but we need leaders
who focus on the big stuff, not specialized issues to help
Andy Brack, publisher of Statehouse Report,
can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to find sources for the statistics above, click
ginger ale has cult following
ginger ale has its origins in the Marlboro County village
of Blenheim. During the late 1890s, Dr. C. R. May began adding
Jamaican ginger to the mineral water gathered from a local
artesian spring. At the time, wealthy planters were building
summer homes in the area. He prescribed the concoction as
a palatable digestive aid.
In the early 1900s May joined forces with A. J. Matheson
to bottle the non-alcoholic ale. Though the company developed
a number of different flavor combinations over the years-including
a pineapple-orange soda-the spicy, ginger-flavored soft drink
known as Old Number Three has remained the primary product.
Statehouse Report has partnered with USC
Press to provide readers with an interesting weekly
historical excerpt about the state. Each excerpt, which
is used with permission and not for republication, is
taken from The
South Carolina Encyclopedia, a 1,077-page book
published in 2006 with entries by almost 600 contributors
and edited by noted historian Walter Edgar. We hope
you enjoy this new feature.
Until 1993, Blenheim Bottling Company avoided any attempts
at modernization. Each bottle was taken off the production
line and hand shaken to mix the granulated sugar into the
ale. That laborious process ended when the Alan Schafer, proprietor
of the South of the Border entertainment complex located just
south of the North Carolina state line, bought out the bottler
and built a modern plant. The old plant closed and production
moved to a new home alongside Pedros Pleasure Palace
and other attractions of South of the Border.
Despite a marketing push that began in the late 1990s and
continues today, Blenheim ginger ale is not widely distributed
outside the Carolinas. The spicy ale has, however, developed
a cult following among food and wine aficionados. In a February
25, 1998 New York Times article, journalists Bill Grimes
described the taste in this way: The first swallow brings
on a four-sneeze fit. The second one clears out the sinuses
and leaves the tongue and throat throbbing with prickly heat.
-- Entry by John T. Edge, The
South Carolina Encyclopedia
off the block
Another great cartoon by Bill McLemore:
Not for tax breaks
To Statehouse Report:
Just how many tax breaks is the area or state giving to SIMT
for creating jobs....Such is a no no.
-- Bob Logan, Little River, SC
needs affordable medical help, birth control, Roxanne
Walker, Greenville, SC
good points in sex Ed column, Anne Badgley, Charleston,
insurance companies want to cancel policies, Dan
Norfleet, Summerville, SC
is tip of iceberg, John P. Ford, Sumter, S.C.
have grown apathetic, David Whetsell, Lexington,
has enterprising spirit, Sandra
Plock, Sumter, SC
violence laws may be used wrongly, Marty Hicks,
Mount Pleasant, SC
is inconsistent, Bill Rentiers III, Lexington,
Edisto would be boon to ACE Basin, Maggie Ridge,
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