ARC Announces County Economic Status Designations for Fiscal Year 2020

June 2019


 
Appalachian counties ranked using available data on unemployment, per capita market income, and poverty.

Contact: Wendy Wasserman, wwasserman@arc.gov; 202.884.7771

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2019—Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) released its County Economic Status Designations for Fiscal Year 2020, which annually ranks the economic status of each of the Regionís 420 counties using national data. According to ARCís County Economic Status Designations for Fiscal Year 2020, 80 counties will be considered distressed (ranking among the worst 10% of counties in the nation); 110 counties will be considered At-Risk (ranking between the worst 10Ė25% of counties in the nation); 217 counties will be considered Transitional (ranking between worst 25 and best 25% of counties in the nation); 10 counties will be considered Competitive (ranking between best 25 and best 10% of counties in the nation); and 3 counties will be considered Attainment (ranking among the best 10% of counties in the nation).

ARCís County Economic Status Designation for Fiscal Year 2020 also found:

ďParts of the Appalachian Region face significant economic challenges compared to the rest of the country, and by releasing this data publicly in an accessible format, ARC is seeking to ensure awareness of these challenges, and to inform policymakers at all levels,Ē said ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas. ďARC and our state partners use this data to direct critical investments toward distressed areas, and I am pleased to see net improvements in many parts of the Region compared to previous years.Ē

To determine the economic status of each of the Regionís 420 counties, ARC applies a composite index formula drawing on the latest data available on per capita market income combined with the previous three-year average unemployment rate, and the previous five-year poverty rates. With this data, each county is classified into one of the five economic designations.

Fiscal Year 2020 County Economic Status Map

Analysis of the composite index value also showed these changes between the County Economic Status Designations for FY 2020 compared to County Economic Status Designations for Fiscal Year 2019:

Data tables, source methodology, and a link to an interactive mapping tool featuring the economic status of each Appalachian county is available at www.arc.gov/research/MapsofAppalachia.asp?MAP_ID=149.

ARC has been issuing index-based County Economic Status Designations on annual basis since 2007, primarily to help the Regionís 13 states develop economic investment strategies for the forthcoming year. In FY 2018, 279 projects totaling 64% of ARC investment dollars had a direct impact on distressed counties. ARC is currently in FY 2019, which ends September, 30, 2019. ARCís County Economic Status Designations for FY 2020 will be effective October 1, 2019–September 30, 2020 for investment purposes.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC's mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.