CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The Appalachian Regional Commission released the FY 2023 interactive map of county economic status and distressed areas in Appalachia. The classification system compares each county in the region to national averages to understand how counties are performing in areas such as unemployment rate, per capita market income, and poverty rates.

ARC County Economic Status Designation by National Index Value Rank (Source: Appalachian Regional Commission)

18 of West Virginia’s counties are labeled as “distressed,” meaning that they are in the worst 10% of US counties. Another 15 counties in the state are “at risk,” meaning they are in between the worst 10 to 25% of US counties. That means more than half of the state’s counties are either distressed or at-risk.

Courtesy: ARC

North Central West Virginia Counties

Monongalia County is labeled as a transitional county. It has four distressed areas. Three of the five are common college student housing locations.

  1. Census Tract 102.04, located near Ruby Memorial Hospital, has a median family income of $43,629 and a poverty rate of 55.8%. It has a population of 1,477.
  2. Census Tract 102.03 near Chestnut Ridge has a median family income of $53,672 and a poverty rate of 35.1%. It has a population of 2,890.
  3. Census Tract 101.03 near Sunnyside has a median family income of $21,513, a poverty rate of 74.2%, and a population of 3,003.
  4. Census Tract 110 along Don Knotts Boulevard has a median family income of $46,850, a poverty rate of 26.7%, and a population of 4,388.

Marion County is labeled as a transitional county. It also has four distressed areas that are all centered around Fairmont.

  1. Census Tract 205 in northern Fairmont is bordered by Buffalo Creek. The median family income is $49,000, the poverty rate is 29.4%, and the population is 1,841.
  2. Census Tract 201 in downtown Fairmont has a median family income of $25,000, a poverty rate of 37.9%, and a population of 1,118.
  3. Census Tract 202, which includes Gaston Junction and half of Hillcrest, has a median family income of $29,232, a poverty rate of 44%, and a population of 3,803.
  4. Census Tract 208, which lies between East Park Avenue and I-79, has a median family income of $27,887, a poverty rate of 31.4%, and a population of 2,937.

Harrison County is also labeled as a transitional county. It has four distressed areas that are centered around Clarksburg.

  1. Census Tract 302, which includes Arlington and North View, has a median family income of $41,731, a poverty rate of 36.8%, and a population of 2,706.
  2. Census Tract 201 near downtown Clarksburg, has a median family income of $49,375, a poverty rate of 30.7%, and a population of 3,008.
  3. Census Tract 310 near Stonewood has a median family income of $47,006, a poverty rate of 26.2%, and a population of 3,435.
  4. Census Tract 303, which includes Montpelier, Summit Park, and Despard, has a median family income of $47,847, a poverty rate of 29.1%, and a population of 2,302.

Randolph County is designated as an at-risk county and has two distressed areas. One of the distressed areas is in Elkins and the other is in the southern part of the county.

  1. Census Tract 9661 in Elkins has a median family income of 41,382, a poverty rate of 19.9%, and a population of 3,767.
  2. Census Tract 9665 in the southern part of Randolph County has a median family income of $50,919, a poverty rate of 21.5%, and a population of 4,344.

Barbour, Gilmer, and Webster counties are labeled as distressed counties.

Preston County is designated as a transitional county with one distressed area near Terra Alta. The distressed area, Census Tract 9641.02, has a median family income of $43,859, a poverty rate of 37.5%, and a population of 1,383.

Tucker, Doddridge, and Taylor counties are designated as transitional counties and have no distressed areas.

Lewis County is labeled as an at-risk county with two distressed areas in the southern parts of the county.

  1. Census Tract 9674 near Weston has a median family income of $38,478, a poverty rate of 22.5%, and a population of 2,544.
  2. Census Tract 9676 near Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park has a median family income of 49,063 but a poverty rate of 23.3%. It has a population of 3,209.

Ritchie County is designated as an at-risk county and has one distressed area in the eastern part of the county. Census Tract 9624, which takes up almost half the county, has a median family income of $45,787 but a poverty rate of 20.6%. It has a population of 3,014

Upshur County is an at-risk county with two distressed areas on the western half of the county.

  1. Census Tract 9668 near Buchannon has a median family income of $46,466, a poverty rate of 25.7%, and a population of 3,815
  2. Census Tract 9671 has a median family income of $48,365, a poverty rate of 21.6%, and a population of 4,576.