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Socio-economic region in the Eastern United States / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Appalachia (/ˌæpəˈlæə, -lə, -lʃə/)[3] is a socio-economic region located in the central and southern sections of the Appalachian Mountains of the Eastern United States. It stretches from the western Catskill Mountains in the east end of the Southern Tier of New York state west and south into Pennsylvania, continuing on through the Blue Ridge Mountains into northern Georgia, and through the Great Smoky Mountains from North Carolina into Tennessee and northern Alabama.[4] In 2020, the region was home to an estimated 26.1 million people, of whom roughly 80% were white.[2]

Quick facts: Appalachia, Country, Counties or county-equiv...
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Areas included under the Appalachian Regional Commission's charter as of July 2023
Areas included under the Appalachian Regional Commission's charter as of July 2023
Subregions of Appalachia as of July 2023.
Subregions of Appalachia as of July 2023.
Coordinates: 38.80°N 81.00°W / 38.80; -81.00
CountryUnited States of America
Counties or county-equivalents420
Largest cityPittsburgh
  Total206,000 sq mi (530,000 km2)
  Total26.1 million[2]
(Appalachian Regional Commission estimate)
  Density126.7/sq mi (48.9/km2)
Dialect(s)Appalachian English

Since its recognition as a cultural region in the late 19th century, Appalachia has been a source of enduring myths and distortions regarding the isolation, temperament, and behavior of its inhabitants. Early 20th-century writers often engaged in yellow journalism focused on sensationalistic aspects of the region's culture, such as moonshining and clan feuding, and often portrayed the region's inhabitants as uneducated and prone to impulsive acts of violence. Sociological studies in the 1960s and 1970s helped to re-examine and dispel these stereotypes.[5] Stereotypes about Appalachian people being ignorant, anti-progress, and racist are still grappled in the region by portrayals in media and press publications.[6]

While endowed with abundant natural resources, Appalachia has long struggled economically and been associated with poverty. In the early 20th century, large-scale logging and coal mining firms brought wage-paying jobs and modern amenities to Appalachia, but by the 1960s the region had failed to capitalize on any long-term benefits[7] from these two industries. Beginning in the 1930s, the federal government sought to alleviate poverty in the Appalachian region with a series of New Deal initiatives, specifically the Tennessee Valley Authority. This was responsible for the construction of hydroelectric dams that provide a vast amount of electricity and that support programs for better farming practices, regional planning, and economic development.

On March 9, 1965, the Appalachian Regional Commission[8] was created to further alleviate poverty in the region, mainly by diversifying the region's economy and helping to provide better health care and educational opportunities to the region's inhabitants. By 1990, Appalachia had largely joined the economic mainstream but still lagged behind the rest of the nation in most economic indicators.[5]

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