Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Town in decline



The population of the Desha, Ark., area has dropped by about 85 since 2005, from 642 to around 560 in 2014.

Wikipedia does not list a population for Desha itself, but does show Independence County with a 2015 population of 37,052. Independence County is in the eastern part of North Central Arkansas and was the ninth county formed in Arkansas Territory, in 1820. Independence is a dry county.

Desha is 97% white, a figure that closely corresponds to Independence County’s 95%. In the county, 10% of families and 13% of the entire population has income below the federal poverty line.

Desha is in Zip Code 72527. Fifty-two percent of the population are women. Forty-eight percent live in husband-wife households, meaning man and woman in Arkansas.

By https://www.unitedstateszipcodes.org/72527/ figures, 100% of the population lives in “occupied housing units.” The plurality of houses in the Zip Code were built in the 1980s. Sixty-two percent of employed people work full time; 27% work part time; and 11% report no earnings. Average household income in 2014 was $42,246. Eighty-five percent of the working people get their money through wages paid by an employer. One hundred percent of the workers get to the job by car, van or truck. No public transportation, no taxis, no motorcycles, no bicycles or walking. Two hundred-forty-eight workers get to work within 10 to 19 minutes. Ninety-two percent of the population 25 and over has a high school diploma.

Desha is on Arkansas Highway 14/25, a few miles south of the White River. Here is a satellite image: https://www.google.com/maps/@35.7439856,-91.765883,159m/data=!3m1!1e3

Just a little north of due east from Desha, you will see a dam on the river, at the end of Lock 2 Road. The south side of the dam has a lock for river traffic.

In the satellite image, a cluster of house trailers has taken root on Moody Street, while on Hulsey Street, quite a few cars, trucks and other metal items have gone to die.

Batesville Regional Airport is just east of Desha.

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