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County Economic Status and Distressed Areas in Appalachia


The Appalachian Regional Commission uses an index-based county economic classification system to identify and monitor the economic status of Appalachian counties. The system compares each county's averages for three economic indicators—three-year average unemployment rate, per capita market income, and poverty rate—with national averages. The resulting values are summed and averaged to create a composite index value for each county. Each county in the nation is then ranked, based on its composite index value. Counties are designated as distressed, at-risk, competitive, or attainment, based on their ranking in the index. Designations are revised annually using the most current data available.

The Commission recognizes that some areas in non-distressed counties have substantially higher poverty or lower income levels than national averages and should be considered economically distressed. These areas should be an important focus of Commission assistance. Accordingly, the Commission designates as "distressed areas," those census tracts in at-risk and transitional counties that have a median family income no greater than 67 percent of the U.S. average and a poverty rate 150 percent of the U.S. average or greater. Designations are revised annually using the latest five-year estimates from the American Community Survey.

Regional Economic Status Maps

Regional Maps of County Economic Status, FY 2002–FY 2015

 

Methodology for Economic Status Maps

County Economic Status Methodology
Distressed Areas Methodology

 

Interactive Regional Economic Status Maps

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County Economic Status and Distressed Areas in Appalachia, FY 2015
County Economic Status and Distressed Areas in Appalachia, FY 2014

 

County Economic Status and Distressed Areas by State, FY 2015

Grant applicants can use the tables and maps in this section when completing ARC project forms. Each state PDF contains the following information:

  • Table showing economic status and number of distressed areas for each Appalachian county.
  • Table showing distressed areas by census tract for each Appalachian county.
  • Map showing county economic status and distressed areas for each Appalachian county.

Alabama   (PDF: 400 KB)
Georgia   (PDF: 500 KB)
Kentucky  (PDF: 600 KB)
Maryland  (PDF: 250 KB)
Mississippi  (PDF: 200 KB)
New York  (PDF: 300 KB)
North Carolina   (PDF: 700 KB)
Ohio  (PDF: 400 KB)
Pennsylvania   (PDF: 450 KB)
South Carolina  (PDF: 350 KB)
Tennessee  (PDF: 1.0 MB)
Virginia  (PDF: 750 KB)
West Virginia  (PDF: 800 KB)

Downloadable Data File
County Economic Status and Distressed Areas in Appalachia, FY 2015 (Excel: 250 KB)

 

County Economic Status and Distressed Areas by State, FY 2014

Grant applicants can use the tables and maps in this section when completing ARC project forms. Each state PDF contains the following information:

  • Table showing economic status and number of distressed areas for each Appalachian county.
  • Table showing distressed areas by census tract for each Appalachian county.
  • Map showing county economic status and distressed areas for each Appalachian county.

Alabama   (PDF: 400 KB)
Georgia   (PDF: 500 KB)
Kentucky  (PDF: 600 KB)
Maryland  (PDF: 200 KB)
Mississippi  (PDF: 200 KB)
New York  (PDF: 300 KB)
North Carolina   (PDF: 700 KB)
Ohio  (PDF: 400 KB)
Pennsylvania   (PDF: 400 KB)
South Carolina  (PDF: 300 KB)
Tennessee  (PDF: 1.0 MB)
Virginia  (PDF: 700 KB)
West Virginia  (PDF: 800 KB)

Downloadable Data File
County Economic Status and Distressed Areas in Appalachia, FY 2014 (Excel: 210 KB)

 

Census Tract Maps Available through the U.S. Census Bureau

Interactive Census Tract Maps
The U.S. Census Bureau's Interactive Mapping System includes census tract information. Use the instructions below to find census tract boundaries used in ARC's FY 2014 and FY 2015 economic status designations.

To display a map with the census tract boundaries used in ARC's FY 2014 and FY 2015 economic status designations:

  1. Under "Select Geographies," click on the "Map" tab.
  2. Click on "Boundaries and Features" in the left navigation bar and select "2010" from the dropdown menu.
  3. Under the "Boundaries" tab, select the "Boundary" and "Label" columns next to "2010 Census Tract."
  4. Click the "Update" button at the bottom of the box.
  5. Click on "Find a Location" in the left navigation bar, and select either "Place Name," "Address," or "Latitude/Longitude."
  6. Enter the appropriate information in the box below and click on "Go." The census tract boundaries and ID numbers will be displayed on the map.

Census Tract Outline Maps
Downloadable maps of census tracts and other civil divisions are available as PDFs on the U.S. Census Bureau Web site. For census tract boundaries used in ARC's FY 2014 and FY 2015 economic status designations, use the 2010 census boundaries.

Census Tract Cartographic Boundaries
Census tract boundary files on this site can be downloaded and incorporated into a geographic information system for mapping and analysis. For census tract boundaries used in ARC's FY 2014 and FY 2015 economic status designations, use the 2010 census boundaries.

Census Tract Cartographic Boundaries