The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has designated Russell County as an at-risk county for fiscal year 2023, according to the map released by the organization last week.
Every year, ARC applies an index-based classification system to compare each county in the Region with national averages to understand how counties are performing. Analyzing three-year average unemployment rates, per capita market income, and poverty rates, each one of Appalachia’s 423 counties in their 13 state region is then classified within one of five economic status designations—distressed, at-risk, transitional, competitive, or attainment.
Russell County has improved in its designation. For fiscal year 2022, Russell County was designated as distressed.
Russell County’s improvement comes via improvements to the unemployment rate related to the average of the country and a slight decrease in the poverty rate, from 23.2 percent last year to 21.6 percent this year.
The designations are also used to determine the match requirements for ARC grants, as well as research topics and investment strategies targeting resources to the Region’s most distressed areas.
In Kentucky, the 2023 fiscal year breakdown has 36 counties as distressed, 15 in the at-risk category, and three as transitional.