1 In 6 Johnston County Families Living In Poverty

Chamber Says CSX Project Would Help Reverse Downward Trend In Some Towns

The Smithfield Selma Chamber of Commerce, which recently endorsed a proposed CSX intermodal terminal in Johnston County, says the jobs the facility would create if it locates here would go a long way towards reversing low wages for many families.

To show how important the jobs would be, many averaging $60,000 a year the Chamber recently released statistics from the US Census Bureau.

The six towns along the I-95 corridor are the poorest of the 11 towns in Johnston County, the report showed.  During the same period, two towns west of I-95, Archer Lodge and Clayton were seeing noticeable income growth.

Johnston County’s median household income in 2014 was $49,799.  The top median household income by municipality is: (1) Archer Lodge $68,479 (2) Clayton $56,941 (3) Wilson’s Mills $42,553 (4) Princeton $35,556 (5) Pine Level $35,256 (6) Smithfield $32,403 (7) Benson $27,455 (8) Kenly $27,337 (9) Micro $26,786 (10) Four Oaks $24,865 and (11) Selma $23,498.

Average Household Income Down In 5 Towns
Since the 2000 census, the average income has fallen by 16 percent in Four Oaks, 15 percent in Benson, 7 percent in Micro, 4 percent in Wilson’s Mills and 2 percent in Selma.  For example, in the year 2000, the median household income in Four Oaks was  $29,427. In 2014, it had fallen to $24,865.

Archer Lodge and Clayton are the only two towns who have a higher average household wealth that the county average. Factoring in inflation, prices have increased about 2 percent each year for the past 14 years, meaning it costs about 28% more to live in 2014 than it did in 2000.

The chamber report said the CSX terminal could help solve the economic issues facing many families in Johnston County.

The chamber report, based on Census numbers, revealed 44% of all families in Benson are living in poverty, 42% in Selma, 40% in Kenly, 38% in Four Oaks, 26% in both Smithfield and Wilson’s Mills, 25% in Pine Level, 23% in Princeton, 11% in Micro, 8% in Clayton and 5% in Archer Lodge.  As a county, 16% of all residents live at or below the poverty level.

The 2014 poverty level definition for a household of one the income is less than $11,670, for a household of two the income is less than $15,730, for a family of three the income is below $19,790, and for a family of four the income is less than $23,850.

In neighboring cities, Wilson has 27% of their residents living in poverty, 26% in Dunn, and 18% in Fayetteville.

CSX: Nothing New
WTSB News spoke with a CSX spokesperson this week. The official said there was no update on a decision by the railroad on where they plan to locate the proposed terminal.