Surviving in the Imperial Valley

In one of the hardest hit parts of the U.S., even the cemetery is in foreclosure

California’s Imperial Valley, a farming area in the state’s southeast corner, is no stranger to hard times. But the current downturn has taken an especially heavy toll. The Imperial Valley had the highest rate of subprime loans in the country and now entire subdivisions sit unfinished, their builders laid-off. Even the local cemetery is in foreclosure. The unemployment rate is over 25 per cent (also the highest in the Unites States). The local paper, the Imperial Valley Press runs a front-page feature called “Tough Times.” Residents say they’re used to the hardscrabble life, and know things will turn around sooner or later. As one local puts it, “You have to be tough to survive in the Imperial Valley.”

Los Angeles Times

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.