Strengthening Economic Resilience in Appalachia

The economies of many counties and subregions in Appalachia have historically depended on a few dominant industries, such as mining or manufacturing. In recent years, Appalachian coal production has plummeted, resulting in devastating impacts on families, communities, counties, and states. It is critical to understand how coal-impacted communities can transform and diversify their economies and build resilience against future economic shocks.

This study defines economic resilience as a local community’s capacity to absorb, resist, and recover from an economic shock, such as an economy-wide recession or industry restructuring. The study comprises two documents: a technical report that describes the quantitative analysis used to explore the factors that increase a community’s ability to buffer an economic shock; and a guidebook which summarizes project findings, presents case studies, and suggests best practices and strategies for communities to employ in order to build resilience.