From Al Cross, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
An item on The Rural Blog Thursday, “Rural and Republican areas have seen the most dramatic income gains and losses in the past few years,” leads to some interesting data about Kentucky. It may also show another reason Matt Bevin lost, and the need for greater economic-development efforts in rural Kentucky. Many of our rural counties are declining economically, as illustrated by this map based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data (the edges are rough because I Photoshopped out the adjoining states’ territory, or most if it, and am unschooled at that).
Both maps are attached for your convenience. Also attached is a list I compiled a list of the counties that appear in orange, gray and blue on the large map, plus those in light blue (the most numerous category) that are in official Appalachia. All this is grist for local stories by Kentucky newspapers. I suggest they talk to their local bankers, chamber of commerce execs and others (such as Alison Davis at UK’s Center for Economic Development in Kentucky) about reasons for their local economic conditions.