Appalachia is a region of stark contrasts, some would say. of paradox: While this region of the United States designated as Appalachia comprises some of the most beautiful land & richest natural resources in the nation, it also has the greatest poverty. Over 91 of the 410 counties within this region are designated by the The Appalachian Regional Commission as economically distressed.
Distressed counties are defined as ones where poverty and unemployment rates are at least 150 percent of the national averages and where per capita market incomes that are no more than two-thirds of the national average. Counties are also considered distressed if they have poverty rates that are at least twice the national average and they qualify on either the unemployment or income indicator.
Lee County where Appalachian Ministries is building the Lodge, has a 34.9% poverty rate as of December 2008 (Kentucky State Data Center).
The states with the most distressed counties are :
Kentucky, 35 distressed counties
West Virginia with 21 distressed counties
Mississippi with 12,
North Carolina, 1