Socioeconomic and Environmental Distress by Block Group in Kentucky
A preliminary fact: Landsat Annual Timelapse 1984-2012 (from Google’s Earth Engine project) shows a glimpse of the vast impact of surface mining in the eastern Kentucky coal fields.
Kentucky’s population is nearly balanced between urban and rural. 52% of Kentucky’s population lives in rural census block groups¹. Economic and social distress² is more likely to occur in rural areas. 61% of Kentucky’s distressed population lives in rural areas.
Surface coal mining³ mostly occurs in rural areas and the highest rate of mine permits to population occurs in distressed rural areas. 99.3% of mine permits exist in rural areas.
The rate of mine permits to persons is 12.8 permits per thousand residents in all distressed areas, 4.24 permits per thousand residents in transitional areas, and .221 permits per thousand residents in non-distressed areas. In the most severely distressed rural areas, the rate is the highest at 32.0 permits per thousand residents.
61.2% of all distressed rural areas have mine permits.