Appalachian Beaver County

Today's Appalachian Beaver County

Trends & Legacy Issues

Basic Population Changes

The Appalachian Regional Commission reports that Appalachia’s overall population is declining. The Northern and North Central Appalachia regions including Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and New York are declining the most. In contrast, Southern Appalachia, especially Georgia, is experiencing a population growth–greater than the national average in some counties.

  • Appalachia had a population of 26.1 million in 2020.
  • Over the past decade Appalachia’s population growth was 2%, much slower than the national trend of 6.5%
  • Most of Appalachia has lost population since 2010.
  • A diversified economy is the most influential factor determining population gain or loss among Appalachian counties.
  •  Appalachia’s population is growing older, but aging at about the same rate as the US in general.
  • Appalachia’s median age (the point at which half the population is older and
    half is younger) is 41.4 years, up 1.5 years over the past decade.
  • In general, the number of younger people who live in Appalachia (below the median age) is declining.
  • The Appalachian Region has become more racially and ethnically diverse, as more people identify with a racial or ethnic group other than “white alone, not Hispanic.”
  • Although African Americans are the largest minority group in Appalachia, Hispanics populations are faster growing and in some counties (especially in the Southern Appalachian region) surpassing black populations.
  • Adjusting for inflation, income trends (mean and median household income, mean and median family income per capita), for Appalachia in general were positive over the past decade, but still below national averages.
  • Income growth was the least in Northern and Central Appalachia regions.
  • Overall, poverty decreased throughout Appalachia, with the slowest poverty reduction rates in the Central and Northern Appalachia.
  • Poverty rates among working-age adults (ages 25 to 64) declined the least in Central and Northern Appalachia.
  • Poverty rates for older older residents (ages 65 and over) rose slightly in Northern and North Central regions of Appalachia, such as Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia.
  • While overall participation decreased among Appalachian households receiving benefits for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka “food stamps”), Appalachian Pennsylvania and West Virginia saw a noticeable increase. 
  • Overall, the income and poverty trends in the Appalachian Region since 2011-2015 show that poverty levels have fallen while incomes have risen, suggesting that much—if not most—of Appalachia has recovered economically from the 2007-2009 recession. However, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—plus other economic concerns—may end up reversing some of
    these gains.

Beaver County: More Urban - Less White

Source: The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2016-2020 American Community Survey Chartbook
Source: The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2016-2020 American Community Survey Chartbook

White Populations

  • 80.3% white = Appalachia Region
  • 86.8% white = Northern Appalachia Sub Region
  • 86.7% white = Pennsylvania Appalachia 

Beaver County and its neighboring counties:

  • 95.5% = Butler County, PA
  • 95.0% = Columbiana County, OH
  • 94.6% = Hancock County, WV 
  • 93.1% = Washington County, PA
  • 92.4% = Lawrence County, PA
  • 90.1% = Beaver County
  • 79.4% = Allegheny County, PA

The Diversity Index (DI) gives us a statistical sense of the racial/ethnic mix of a county. For example, Beaver County’s DI is 26.1%, meaning that there is better than a 1 in 4 chance that any two people in Beaver County will be of a different race or ethnicity. Allegheny’s DI is 41.6%, meaning that there is almost a 50% chance that any two people will be of a different race or ethnicity.  Over the past decade, Beaver County and all its surrounding counties have become more diverse. Here is a listing from the most to least diverse:  

Allegheny County = 41.6% (↑8.4%)

Beaver County = 26.1% (↑8.3%)

Lawrence County = 21.9% (diversity index ↑8.9%, greatest gain in diversity)

Washington County = 20.0% (↑7.4%)

Hancock County, WV = 18% (↑8%)

Columbiana County, OH = 16% (↑6%)

Butler County = 15.4% (↑7.3%)

Source: FRED Economic Data


Population Decline

Resistance to Change

Shaping the Future

Rethinking Communities

Inclusivity & Diversity

Engaging Activism

Social Justice
Environmental Justice
Participatory Democracy

Evolving Historical Thinking

Critical Perspectives
Cultural & Social Issues
Public History Focus

Hearing New Voices

Black Appalachia
Queer Appalachia