Report Looks At 50-Year Impact Of Appalachian Anti-Poverty Agency
A new report examines the 50-year impact of an anti-poverty agency that targets the Appalachian counties in the U.S. and the results are mixed.
Watauga County, in the heart of North Carolina's Appalachian Mountains, serves as an example of how these communities have benefited from the Appalachian Regional Commission, but also that more work needs to be done.
The commission released a report that shows that 90 percent of residents have finished high school-that’s up by about a third since 1980. Per capita income is also up in Watauga County, but lags behind growth in other parts of the Appalachians.
The poverty rate, now almost 30 percent, has increased more for Watauga County than for the rest of the state and the country as a whole since 1980.
Those kinds of uneven results can be found all over the Appalachians, depending upon the indictor.
The report also looks at where money could benefit North Carolina mountain counties in the future. For example, the report notes that there is a critical need to expand broadband internet infrastructure to the region’s more isolated areas.
President Lyndon Johnson created the Appalachian Regional Commission in 1965 to fight poverty along the mountain regions ranging from Mississippi to New York. The federal-and-state partnership has spent $3.8 billion over the last five decades on various projects targeting the health, transportation and employment needs of the Appalachian region.