Appalachia

Appalachia (/ˌæpəˈlæə, -lə, -lʃə/) is a cultural region in the Eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York State to northern Alabama and Georgia.[2] While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Belle Isle in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, to Cheaha Mountain in Alabama, Appalachia typically refers only to the cultural region of the central and southern portions of the range, from the Catskill Mountains of New York southwest to the Blue Ridge Mountains which run southwest from southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia, and the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. In 2019, the region was home to an estimated 25.7 million people, of which roughly 81% are white.[3][4]

Appalachia
Region
Left-right from top:
Areas included under the Appalachian Regional Commission's charter
Subregions of Appalachia. Published by the Appalachian Regional Commission in 2009.
Coordinates: 38.80°N 81.00°W / 38.80; -81.00
Counties or county-equivalents420
States13
Largest cityPittsburgh
Population
 (2019)
  Total25.7 million[1]
(Appalachian Regional Commission 2,019 estimate)
DemonymAppalachian
Dialect(s)Appalachian English

Since its recognition as a distinctive 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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