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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, North Carolina had a population of 9,748,364 in 2012. Approximately 16.8 percent of the state’s population is classified by the federal government as living below the poverty level; that is higher than the national average of 14.9 percent.

One of the fastest-growing impoverished populations in the state is Latinos, many from Mexico, who are drawn by the availability of jobs in the meat- and poultry-processing industries. Many of the companies involved in these endeavors are new migrants to the state, having moved from other parts of the United States. They were drawn to North Carolina by the availability of a nonunionized labor force, which enables them to pay poor wages and thus increase their profit margins. Many of the plants ...

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