APPALACHIA

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Kentucky’s Appalachia is a vast area rich in history, heritage, and tradition.  The region’s beauty and bio-diversity have long been touted by outdoor enthusiasts and naturists since the time of Daniel Boone.  Retrace the footsteps of early settlers in the land of America’s first frontier as you minister and bring the love of Christ to people in very practical ways.

FACTS & FIGURES

Poverty:  According to the statistics conducted by Appalachian Research Commission, one out of every three Appalachians suffered from poverty; their average income was 23 percent lower than the average level of American per capita income.  McCreary County is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest in southeastern Kentucky along the Tennessee state border. The only county nationwide where most households earn less than $20,000 a year, McCreary is the poorest county in both Kentucky and the United States.  [Jan 25, 2019]

facts

Climate:  Summer days are typically sunny warm and humid. Most areas of the region receive more than 60 percent of available sunshine during summer. The average daily high temperature for July is about 85° F.

Terrain:  A glaciated mountainous terrain with thousands of valleys, “hollows,” creeks, and rivers,  Kentucky’s highest point is Black Mountain in Harlan County, 4,145 feet (1,264 meters) above sea level.

Natural Resources:  water, forestry products, coal, oil, natural gas, and various other minerals. 

Location:  The southeastern region of the state of Kentucky (bordering with the states of Virginia and Tennessee).  Kentucky is located in the south-central United States along the west side of the Appalachian Mountains, Kentucky ranks 37th in land size, with 39,732 square miles (102,907 square kilometers). The Commonwealth is bordered by seven states: Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Illinois.  

KENTUCKY'S APPALACHIA OVERVIEW

  • Before 1750, Kentucky was populated nearly exclusively by Cherokee, Chickasaw, Shawnee and several other tribes of Native Americans.
  • April 13, 1750, while leading an expedition for the Loyal Land Company in what is now southeastern Kentucky, Dr. Thomas Walker was the first recorded American of European descent to discover and use coal in Kentucky.
  • By 1751 surveyor-explorer and Indian scout Christopher Gist, representing the Ohio Company, mapped the Ohio River area from its headwaters (near today’s Pittsburgh) and crossed into what is now Kentucky.
  • 1767 Daniel Boone led his first band of hunters as far west as what is now Floyd County, Kentucky and hunted along the Big Sandy River.
  • 1769 Judge Richard Henderson financed a venture proposed by John Finley to find the Cherokees’ Warriors Path through a gap in the Cumberland Mountains; Finley convinced his friend Daniel Boone to lead a hunting party on a long hunt in Kentucky, including John Stewart, Boone’s brother-in-law; they cleared a trail through the Cumberland Gap.
  • March 10, 1775, Daniel Boone along with 35 axmen begin to blaze a trail from Fort Chiswell (Virginia) through Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky. Financed by the Transylvania Company, the trail eventually came to be known as the Wilderness Road.
  • June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the fifteenth state to be admitted to the union. 
  • 1820, the first commercial coal mine, known as the McLean Drift Bank opens.
  • 1850, coal production for the year reaches 150,000 tons.
  • 1879, one million tons of Kentucky coal production reached.
  • 1917, Lynch and Portal 31 mine are established by the U.S. Steel and Coke Company.
  • 1923, All-time high U.S. employment of 704,793 bituminous coal and lignite miners.
  • 1941-1945, Appalachian coal mines produce millions of tons of coal for the allied war effort.
  • 1950-1960, Coal mine operations begin to gradually lessen as new technologies are developed for the extraction of coal.  
  • 1960-1980, Various Congressional Acts and policies enacted to protect the environment begin to have an ever-increasing dampening effect on coal mining and production.
  • 2020, The lack of infrastructure, healthcare, and economic development continues to foster an overall depressed economy which has led to an increase in drug abuse and other social ills in the region.

APPALACHIA BY THE NUMBERS

Health:

  • Appalachian Kentucky’s heart disease mortality rate is 45 percent higher than the national rate.
  • Appalachian Kentucky’s cancer mortality rate is 35 percent higher than the national rate.
  • Appalachian Kentucky’s COPD mortality rate is 88 percent higher than the national rate.
  • Appalachian Kentucky’s injury mortality rate is 103 percent higher than the national rate.
  • Appalachian Kentucky’s stroke mortality rate is 26 percent higher than the national rate.
  • Appalachian Kentucky’s diabetes mortality rate is 32 percent higher than the national rate.
  • The average adult in Appalachian Kentucky reports feeling physically unhealthy 47 percent more often than the average American.

Behavioral Health:

  • The suicide rate in Appalachian Kentucky is 19 percent higher than the national rate.
  • The average adult in Appalachian Kentucky reports feeling mentally unhealthy 25 percent more often than the average American.
  • The prevalence of depression among fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries in Appalachian Kentucky is 18.4 percent, compared to 15.4 percent for the United States as a whole.

Child Health:

  • The infant mortality rate is 21 percent higher in Appalachian Kentucky than in the nation as a whole. 

Health Care Systems:

  • The supply of primary care physicians per 100,000 population in Appalachian Kentucky is 26 percent lower than the national average.
  • The supply of mental health providers per 100,000 population in Appalachian Kentucky is 7 percent lower than the national average.
  • The supply of specialty physicians per 100,000 population in Appalachian Kentucky is 59 percent lower than the national average.
  • The supply of dentists per 100,000 population in Appalachian Kentucky is 37 percent lower than the national average.
  • The percentage of the population under age 65 that is uninsured in Appalachian Kentucky is 18.6 percent, which is higher (worse) than the national average of 16.8 percent. 

SOCIAL FACTORS

  • The median household income in Appalachian Kentucky is 40 percent less than the national median.
  • The household poverty rate is 26.7 percent in Appalachian Kentucky, a figure higher than the national rate of 15.6 percent.
  • The percentage of people receiving disability benefits is higher in Appalachian Kentucky (14.3 percent) than in the United States as a whole.
  • In Appalachian Kentucky, 48.4 percent of adults ages 25 to 44 have some type of postsecondary education, compared to the 63.3 percent in the nation as a whole.

poverty map

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