Appalachia had a population of 26.3 million in 2021, a 2.9% increase – or almost 745,000 more residents – than it had in mid-2010. Though two subregions have experienced growth, most of the Region has lost population and its overall growth is slower than the national average of 7.3%.
The Region’s population is generally aging at the same rate as the nation, with the median age rising to 41.3 years over the 2010-2021 period. However, certain portions of Appalachia are aging faster than others and the nation as a whole.
Most of the Region has lost population, with the Appalachian portion of five states – Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia – experiencing losses of at least 3%. However, Southern Appalachia has added residents. In fact, Southern Appalachia’s growth surpassed the national average, reaching 10.3%. Certain counties in Appalachian Georgia grew exponentially, with gains averaging 16.3%.
Like the United States as a whole, Appalachia’s population became older between 2010 and 2021. The median age of the Region’s population is 41.3 years. The share of Appalachia’s population under age 18 and the share of adults ages 25 to 64 are both more than a full percentage point lower in mid-2021 than they were in mid-2010.
Minorities make up a small but growing share of Appalachia’s population. The Region’s population is 20.2% minority while the national rate is 40.7%.