Appalachia report cites progress, challenges after 50 years

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 23, 2015 4:40 AM

Photo by AP Photo/Roger Alford

File photo: Elizabethtown, Kentucky

(Undated) -- A new study finds that the nearly $4 billion investment over 50 years by the agency created to fight poverty in Appalachia has helped its counties grow faster than rural areas elsewhere. But the region still lags the rest of the country in some important areas. 

The study ordered up by the Appalachian Regional Commission cites progress in some areas such as poverty rates.

But its authors noted persistent problems such as mortality rates and dependency on government checks. 

Some who work with Appalachia's poor say the government needs to do much more to help the region's residents. 

Researchers analyzed data going back to the state-federal partnership's creation by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.

The 420-county territory includes pieces of 12 states stretching from New York to Mississippi. 

Counties across the commonwealth considered a part of Appalachia include Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder and Union.

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