Kentucky’s coal country dominates list of worst places to liveMarch 13, 2019
Kentucky counties don’t fare well on a recent list ranking the worst U.S. places to live.
24/7 Wall Street recently ranked the top 25 worst counties to live in, based on three factors: poverty, the percentage of adults who have at least a bachelor’s degree, and average life expectancy at birth.
Of the top 25 counties, 10 of them are in Kentucky. (And even worse: six of the top 10 are Kentucky counties.)
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Here’s the report from 24/7 Wall St:
Joblessness in the United States recently hit its lowest point since the 1960s; the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an all-time high last year; and America is now home to at least twice as many billionaires as any other country.
In this context, it can be easy to overlook the parts of the country that have been left behind. In dozens of communities across the United States there is widespread poverty and failing local businesses. In these areas, the population is shrinking and the average life expectancy at birth more closely resembles that of countries like Indonesia and Egypt.
24/7 Wall St. constructed an index of three measures — poverty, the percentage of adults who have at least a bachelor’s degree, and average life expectancy at birth — to identify the worst counties to live in. Many of these counties also rank among the poorest and least healthy counties nationwide.
Nearly every county on this list falls into one of three categories: counties in Appalachian coal country, Southern counties along or near the Mississippi River, and those that lie within Native American reservations. Though these types of counties have very different histories and geographies, they each paint a similarly bleak picture of the underbelly of the largest economy in the world.
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To determine the 25 worst counties to live, 24/7 Wall St. constructed an index consisting of three measures: bachelor’s degree attainment rate, poverty rate, and average life expectancy at birth.
Data on life expectancy is from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation – an independent population health research center at the University of Washington. All other data is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey and are 5-Year estimates.
25. Floyd County, Kentucky
- 5-year population change: -5.1 percent
- Poverty rate: 30.7 percent
- Bachelor’s degree attainment: 12.6 percent
- Life expectancy: 72 years
Floyd, a county in Eastern Kentucky, is the geographic center of the Appalachian region. The county epitomizes many of the social and economic problems so common throughout the region. More than 30 percent of county residents live below the poverty line, and a similar share rely on SNAP benefits, or food stamps, to afford basic necessities. Like many counties on this list, Floyd is losing residents rapidly. In the last…