New Economic Report: Appalachia is Starting to Rebound, But in W.Va., That’s Not the Case

Aug 20, 2018

Report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that 15 counties are considered economically distressed.
Credit Appalachian Regional Commission

A new economic report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that across Appalachia, communities are starting to rebound. But in West Virginia, that’s not the case. 


In the past year, there’s been a drop in the number of counties across the Appalachian region that are considered economically distressed. That’s the best economic report the region has seen in a decade.

These statistics are based on unemployment numbers and low-income levels. In West Virginia, 15 counties are considered economically distressed—that’s an increase from last year, as Summers, Fayette, and Wetzel counties have been added to the list.

21 counties in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee experienced a positive shift in their economic status. 18 counties in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia have fallen, many of which are in the region’s prime coal-producing areas.

Although poverty rates in both Appalachia and the nation dropped in the last year, Appalachia’s poverty rate continues to be higher than the rest of the country.