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Journal published at MU reveals changing face of
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Aging, migration and ethnicity are changing the face of Appalachia, according to a special issue of The Journal of Appalachian Studies, which examined data collected in the 2000 census. The recently released publication was made possible with the support of the Ford Foundation and Marshall University.
The Journal is published by the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA), a national professional organization devoted to scholarship and community activism focused on the Appalachian region. The organization is headquartered at Marshall University on the Huntington campus. Dr. Linda Spatig, professor in the College of Education and Human Services at Marshall, is associate editor of the Journal.
The special issue, Appalachia Counts: The Region in the 2000 Census, lists among its findings that the aging Appalachian population will perpetuate poverty in Appalachia if a younger workforce is not sustained; Appalachian African Americans are concentrated in urban areas; younger Appalachians are on par with their non-Appalachian counterparts in attaining high school diplomas but lag significantly in acquiring college educations; and severe poverty still exists in Appalachia’s rural areas, particularly among those households headed by a female with young children.
Other findings raise concerns about the quality and affordability of housing among Appalachian renters. Increasing costs are more common in urban and metro counties while rural counties are faced with housing quality problems. Southern Appalachia is attracting large numbers of educated and skilled migrants, while the Northern and Central sub-regions are attracting migrants with less education and fewer skills.
Employment continues to be a concern in Appalachia. While the region lags the nation in labor force participation by three percent, distressed counties lag the nation by more than 12 percent.
The ASA has been located at Marshall since July 2001. The university competed with several other institutions to have both the organization and its journal located on campus.
“I believe we were successful in bringing the Association to Marshall largely due to two things, the strong reputation of Marshall’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia (CSEGA), which was established with Rockefeller Foundation funds, and the strong institutional support for it, especially the president’s office, the office of Academic Affairs and the COEHS,” Spatig said.
Currently, the ASA and Marshall are collaborating on a major National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant – Faces of Appalachia.
“If we can successfully raise the needed funds for that, it will institutionalize important scholarship on ethnicity and gender in Appalachia that was begun with CSEGA,” Spatig said.
Marshall professor Dr. Edwina Pendarvis, a faculty member in the College of Education and Human Services, is a former associate editor of the Journal and currently is the project director for Faces of Appalachia. Mary Thomas, employed by the Marshall University Research Corporation, is the managing editor of the Journal
Copies of the special census issue are available for $10 plus shipping and handling. Contact Thomas at the ASA office at (304) 696-2904 for more information.