Appalachia has long held the reputation of an “under developed, lagging region” (Isserman 1996b, 2).  Limited economic opportunities and spatial isolation have always been major contributors to the region’s under-development.  However, recent reports (Isserman 1996a and Isserman 1996b) reveal that socioeconomic conditions in Appalachia are changing.  More importantly, while many counties in the region are still economically distressed, many counties are growing faster than the nation (Isserman 1996b, 23).  Even with the economic success of some counties in the region, other counties lack employment and development opportunities and continue to be among the poorest in the nation.

This report evaluates demographic, economic, and housing conditions in the Appalachian region of four states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia) to determine the impact of socioeconomic development on housing needs in the region.  The findings testify to the diversity of the region.  There is a clear distinction between the core and periphery of the region. Findings reveal an economically depressed core area with only modest population growth—net out-migration is evident in most core counties with only slight growth in total households.  The periphery, particularly in the south and east, is defined by significant economic and employment growth and subsequent population growth. The economies of the periphery are heavily reliant on services and trade, as well as on occasion manufacturing.   The economies of the core are heavily dependent on government and transfer payments.   The stereoty