ARC Releases The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from 2014–2018 Showing Regional Pre-COVID Economic Trends Were Improving, Although Continued to Lag Behind Nation as a Whole

June 2020

Chartbook report features over 300,000 data points on Appalachia’s economy, income, employment, education, and other indicators to serve as future baseline for COVID-19 analysis

Contact: Wendy Wasserman,; o: 202.884.7771; m: 202.641.4894

Washington, D.C., June 10, 2020—Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission released The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2014–2018 American Community Survey, also known as "The Chartbook." Drawing from the American Community Survey and comparable Census Population Estimates available as of 2018, the data predates the COVID-19 crisis. The report contains over 300,000 data points about Appalachia’s demographics, income, employment, as well as education, computer access, housing, transportation and other indicators—all presented at the regional, subregional, state, and county level with comparisons to the rest of the nation. The Chartbook also examines data change over recent years to identify trends and offer a useful baseline for additional future research.

Among the Chartbook’s findings are that:

“This annual ARC report, defining and illuminating the most important economic and demographic data and trends in our Region, provides critical information to policymakers and stakeholders seeking to contribute to Appalachia’s growth,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “The Chartbook relies on data collected from Census sources, illustrating the importance of full, accurate Census participation in our region. I encourage all Appalachians to complete the Census form, and do their part to inform ARC investments.”

New to this year’s Chartbook is comparative data from Appalachia’s 107 rural counties (defined as neither part of, nor adjacent to, a metropolitan area) in relation to 804 similarly designated rural counties in the rest of the country. Chartbook data found that Appalachia’s rural residents had lower levels of education, employment, income, and access to the Internet, and higher levels of poverty and disability than rural residents in other areas of the United States. For instance:

The highest concentration of Appalachia’s rural counties are in Mississippi, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

“The data show that conditions were already more challenging in rural counties within Appalachia than in those outside the Region, even before the pandemic. This disparity will be important for policymakers as rural residents throughout the Region try to recover from the economic and health impacts of the pandemic,” said report co-author Linda A. Jacobsen, U.S. Programs at Population Reference Bureau.

In addition to the written report, ARC has also released companion fact sheets on Appalachia’s population, employment, education, income and poverty, and computer and broadband access.

Graphic: Data Snapshot: Appalachia's Population
Graphic: Data Snapshot: Education in Appalachia
Graphic: Data Snapshot: Education in Appalachia
Income and Poverty
Graphic: Data Snapshot: Income and Poverty in Appalachia
Computer & Broadband Access
Graphic: Data Snapshot: Computer and Broadband Access in Appalachia

The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2014–2018 American Community Survey was authored by the Population Reference Bureau with the Appalachian Regional Commission. This is the 10th annual update.

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.