Appalachian Ohio

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Appalachian Ohio, shaded in green, shown within Appalachia.

Appalachian Ohio is a bioregion and political unit in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Ohio, characterized by the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Regional Commission defines the region as consisting of thirty-two counties.[1] This region roughly overlaps with the Appalachian mixed-mesophytic forests, which begin in southeast Ohio and southwest Pennsylvania and continue to north Georgia and Alabama. The mixed-mesophytic forest is found only in Central and Southern Appalachia and eastern/central China. It is one of the most biodiverse temperate forests in the world.

Geologically, Appalachian Ohio corresponds closely to the terminal moraine of an ancient glacier that runs southwest to northeast through the state. Areas south and east of the moraine are characterized by rough, irregular hills and hollows, characteristic of the Allegheny and Cumberland Plateaus of western Appalachia. Unlike eastern Appalachia, this region does not have long fin-like ridges like those of the Blue Ridge or Kittatinny Mountains, but a network of rocky hollows and hills going in all directions.

The region is considered part of "central Appalachia", a political, cultural, and bioregional classification that includes southeastern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, and most of West Virginia.

Counties and county seats

The Governor's Office of Appalachia subdivides the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio into three smaller regions: East Central Ohio, South East Ohio, and Southern Ohio.[1][2] The following lists include each county in the region and its county seat.

East Central Ohio South East Ohio Southern Ohio


Appalachian Ohio has several cities within its borders, which as of the 2000 census included the following localities:


Port Columbus International Airport, in Columbus, is the largest airport and serves most of the residents in southeast Ohio. Port Columbus offers primarily domestic flights. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to the southwest serves most of the residents of Cincinnati and its metropolitan area, and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to the north is also a major hub airport.

Appalachian Regional Commission

Map showing 2012 ARC economic designations for Appalachian Ohio.

The Appalachian Regional Commission was formed in 1965 to aide economic development in the Appalachian region, which was lagging far behind the rest of the nation on most economic indicators. The Appalachian region currently defined by the Commission includes 420 counties in 13 states, including 32 counties in Ohio. The Commission gives each county one of five possible economic designations— distressed, at-risk, transitional, competitive, or attainment— with "distressed" counties being the most economically endangered and "attainment" counties being the most economically prosperous. These designations are based primarily on three indicators— three-year average unemployment rate, market income per capita, and poverty rate.[3] In 2009, Appalachian Ohio had a three-year average unemployment rate of 8.4%, compared with 7.5% statewide and 6.6% nationwide. In 2008, Appalachian Ohio had a per capita market income of $22,294, compared with $29,344 statewide and $34,004 nationwide. In 2009, Appalachian Ohio had a poverty rate of 16%, compared to 13.6% statewide and 13.5% nationwide.[4] Seven Ohio counties—Adams, Athens, Meigs, Morgan, Noble, Pike and Vinton—were designated "distressed", while nine—Ashtabula, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Jackson, Lawrence, Monroe, Perry and Scioto—were designated "at-risk". The remaining half of Appalachian Ohio counties were designated "transitional", meaning they lagged behind the national average on one of the three key indicators. No counties in Ohio were given the "attainment" or "competitive" designations.

Athens County had Appalachian Ohio's highest poverty rating, with 32.8% of its residents living below the poverty line. Clermont had Appalachian Ohio's highest per capita income ($30,515) and Holmes had the lowest unemployment rate (5.5%).[3] Washington County has the highest high school graduation rate (84.5%), while Adams County has the lowest (68.6%). Although Holmes County has a significantly lower high school graduation rate than Adams County at 51.5%, its graduation rates are somewhat skewed compared to the rest of the region, due to the county's high population of Amish, whose children do not attend school past the eighth grade.[5]

Recent Business Developments

The once manufacturing-heavy region was suffering after several factories closed in the area. Today, however, both state and private initiatives are helping the region to transform from the "rust belt" into a "tech-belt." As of late, measures have been put in place to encourage economic development in Appalachia Ohio. For example, increased access to capital has provided incentives for new companies to start up in the region. One of the largest rurally focused investment funds in the country is located here. The East Central Ohio Tech Angel Fund (ECOTAF) is a group of experienced investors that helps new and established companies by providing venture capital coupled with entrepreneurial support services. Working with business development entities in the region, ECOTAF provides assistance to Ohio entrepreneurs in: creating business plans, conducting market research, performing executive searches and preparing presentations for investors and bankers. These services help to make startups more attractive to other investors. After working with ECOTAF, several Appalachia-based startups received funding from angel investors outside of the state – and country. Since its inception, ECOTAF has helped raise $11 million for startup companies in Ohio’s Appalachian Region. TechGROWTH Ohio is another example of a resource for entrepreneurs in Appalachia Ohio. TechGROWTH Ohio connects early-stage, technologically innovative companies with valuable tools for growth. The program focuses on four technology industries: digital interactive media, bio-sciences, bio-agriculture and advanced energy. The mission of TechGROWTH Ohio is to significantly increase revenue growth and capital investments in technology-based businesses within southeast Ohio. Funded by the Third Frontier Initiative – a $1.6 billion Ohio Department of Development project – it is a part of the Entrepreneurial Signature Program. TechGROWTH Ohio is located at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University and works alongside many partners, including the Edison Biotechnology Institute, Ohio University’s Innovation Center, Adena Ventures, the Ohio State University South Centers and ECOTAF. Recently, a number of successful companies have sprung from the resource-rich Appalachian area. One example is Turning Technologies, which is the global leader of audience response systems. Essentially, the company develops software and designs hardware for customers polling and reporting needs. More than half of all U.S. colleges and universities use Turning Technologies' response systems on campus. Organizations including Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson and the McDonald's Corporation are also using Turning for their response system needs. In 2007, Inc. Magazine ranked Turning as the fastest growing privately held software company in the U.S. Other examples of recent business success in Appalachia include Third Sun and Global Cooling. Third Sun, a solar and wind power company, is considered one of the fastest-growing companies in Ohio. Global Cooling, an innovative technology company providing energy-efficient, high performance cooling products to the scientific, medical, and electronics fields, was recently awarded $1.3 million by Third Frontier to further its growth and expansion.

Notable People

Notable Americans from southern Ohio include:

  • William Henry Harrison 9th US President (1841, March 4 – April 4, shortest term, first president to die in office, only 30 days 12 hrs 30 mins).
  • Ulysses S. Grant 18th US President (1869–1877) Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, April 27, 1822. Victor of the American Civil War.
  • James Abram Garfield 20th US President (1881, March 4 - shot on July 2, died 80 days later) was born in a log cabin in Orange Township, Moreland Hills, Nov 19, 1831.
  • Benjamin Harrison 23rd US President (1833-1901) grandson of President William H. Harrison, born in North Bend, Ohio, Aug 20, 1833.
  • William McKinley 25th US President (1897-1901, shot in abdomen on Sept 6, died Sept 13) was born in Niles, Ohio, January 29, 1843.
  • William Howard Taft 27th US President (1909–1913) born into the powerful Taft family near Cincinnati, September 15, 1857.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Counties in Appalachia", Appalachian Regional Commission website. Retrieved 2012-Jan-13.
  2. County Map, Governor's Office of Appalachia, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Appalachian Regional Commission Online Resource Center. Retrieved: 15 May 2009.
  4. "County Economic Status, Fiscal Year 2012: Appalachian Ohio", Appalachian Regional Commission. Retrieved: 2012-Jan-13.
  5. "Education – High School and College Completion Rates, 2000". Retrieved 22 December 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also:

Further reading

  • Billings, Dwight B. and Kathleen M. Blee "Agriculture and Poverty in the Kentucky Mountains: Beech Creek, 1850-1910" in Appalachia in the Making: The Mountain South in the Nineteenth Century, eds. Pudup et al. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
  • Blethen, H. Tyler "Pioneer Settlement" in High Mountains Rising: Appalachia in Time and Place, eds. Straw and Blethen. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004.
  • Davis, Donald Edward. "A Whole World Dying" and "Medicinal and Cultural Uses of Plants in the Southern Appalachians" in Homeplace Geography: Essays for Appalachia. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2006.
  • Lewis, Ronald L. "Railroads, Deforestation, and the Transformation of Agriculture in the West Virginia Back Counties, 1880-1920" in Appalachia in the Making: The Mountain South in the Nineteenth Century, eds. Pudup et al. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
  • Salstrom, Paul. "Newer Appalachia as One of America's Last Frontiers" in Appalachia in the Making: The Mountain South in the Nineteenth Century, eds. Pudup et al. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

External links

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