Appalachian Institute What is Appalachia?


The Appalachian Region, as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission, is a 205,000-square-mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. It includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Forty-two percent of the Region's population is rural, compared with 20 percent of the national population. The Region includes 420 counties in 13 states. It extends more than 1,000 miles from southern New York to northeastern Mississippi, and is home to 24.58 million people. Some communities have successfully diversified their economies, while others still require basic infrastructure such as roads and water and sewer systems. The contrasts are not surprising in light of the Region's size and diversity. (The maps and information above are from the  Appalachian Regional Commission  website.)