Until 2013, according to the U.S. census, median household income here trailed the nation’s average of $51,939 by more than one-third.
Yet for more than a year, gushers of cash have rained down on Marietta, swelling the local economy as farmers and landowners leased the mineral rights to their property for one-time payments of $4,000 an acre or more. More money — much more, in the form of residual payments — is expected in the coming decades.
An ongoing explosion of domestic energy production — primarily from a highly controversial extraction process commonly called fracking — is transforming rural communities across North America.
In Marietta, hotels are full. Restaurants are booming. The city’s median household income shot up more than 20 percent in one year to a 2013 estimate of $40,286, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
At Marietta’s auto dealerships, the increase in business has been immediate and dramatic.
“Three months ago, we couldn’t get them financed on a $5,000 car,” Marietta dealer Jim Cobb says of one of his recent Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram customers.
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