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McCreary County considered “distressed”

Tables and maps of the county economic status and distressed areas in Appalachian Kentucky in fiscal year 2020.

By Greg Bird

In a new report released last week by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) McCreary County is one of 80 Appalachian counties considered “distressed” economically.
The County Economic Status Designation for Fiscal Year 2020 report is generated annually by the ARC, which ranks each of the 420 counties under their purview by economic status using national data.
The “distressed” label indicates a county is among the lowest 10-percent of counties in the nation. According to the report McCreary raked 3,105 out of 3,113 counties in the United States.
The study looked at three main economic indicators to assign a designation for each county: the 3-year average unemployment rate, per-capita market income and poverty rate.
McCreary had the highest poverty rate for Kentucky in the study, with 41-percent of the population living below the poverty line. The state average is 18.3 percent and nationwide the average is 14.6 percent.
The county also had the lowest per-capita market income in the state, calculated by dividing personal income by transfer payments such as disability and other benefit payments. McCreary’s income level was just $11,356, compared to the state average of $30,777 and the national average of $42,861.
The unemployment rate for the county stood at 7.5 percent. Kentucky’s average was 5.1 percent and the national rate was 4.8 percent.

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