The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2018-2022 American Community Survey

Author(s): Sara Srygley, Nurfadila Khairunnisa, and Diana Elliott
Author Organization(s): Population Reference Bureau

This study examines state- and county-level data for the 13 Appalachian states from the 2018-2022 American Community Survey (ACS) and from U.S. Census Bureau population estimates on topics including population, age, race and ethnicity, housing occupancy and tenure, education, labor force, employment and unemployment, income and poverty, health insurance coverage, disability status, migration patterns, and veteran status. Additionally, data are provided on types of housing units, homeownership, types of living arrangements, travel time to work and location of work, SNAP benefits, and income-to-poverty ratio. This data also compares the characteristics of Appalachia’s 107 rural counties to those of rural counties located in the rest of the country. For the first time, this report compares two non-overlapping five-year periods for computer device ownership and household internet subscriptions, which allows for the study of trends in the data.

The data contained in this Chartbook describe how residents in the Appalachian Region were faring before and during the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March 2020. Nearly half of the years during this time period were pre-pandemic and half were during the pandemic era. Thus, this Chartbook is a blend of these two eras. As future data releases reflect the post-pandemic era, data users will have additional insights on the long-term changes that the pandemic brought to Appalachia’s social and economic dynamics.

Information is summarized for five Appalachian subregions and five metro designations. The report also compares data from two recent non-overlapping time periods, allowing the study of trends.