Down Comes the Mountain: Coal Mining and Health in Central Appalachia from 2000 to 2010

James K. Pugh, University of Louisville

Appalachia is one of the unhealthiest and most economically disadvantaged regions in America It has higher rates of diseases (including heart disease and cancer) than the rest of the United States. Past research argued that lower socio-economic conditions of Appalachia are the main determinants of existing health disparities, a burgeoning body of literature is examining the relationship between coal mining and health. These studies show that when controlling for socioeconomic status, health status remains significantly lower in coal-producing Appalachian counties compared to non-coal producing Appalachian counties. Previous studies have examined one or two years at time, they lack analysis looking at this trend over time. I examined the relationship between coal mining and health over time at the county level. The results point to a regional change in coal production impact upon health status, however lacking evidence for a county level change in coal production impact on health status.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration and Urbanization; Population, Development and the Environment