The Appalachia region is 205,000-square miles that stretch along the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi.
It covers parts of 13 different states–Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and all of West Virginia–encompassing 420 counties and 25 million people.
Some families live down long dirt roads and sometimes the state can’t even get equipment in to build water or other lines, or it’s just too costly for the state. Many communities don’t have grocery stores or hospitals. Some families don’t have cars and there are no buses or taxis or community transportation. That means if they want food or need to get to work, they have to walk–sometimes over 50 miles one way–to get to their destination. All of this presents unique problems with infrastructure and roads, and issues with access to transportation, medical care and food sources that many of us don’t even consider an issue in the United States today.
In fiscal year 2014, 93 of the 420 counties were considered “economically distressed”–defined as the poorest regions in the entire country.
Over 16% of the homes are classified as “substandard,” meaning the homes have more people than they have room for, and there is no indoor plumbing.
*Facts, info and map from the Appalachian Region Commission