President Clinton is scheduled to visit Appalachia today. Here is a look at the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership that oversees economic development and poverty issues, and the area it covers.
Distressed counties have at least 150% of U.S. unemployment rate and poverty rate and 67% or less of the U.S. per capita income, or have 200% of the poverty rate and one of the other "distressed" indicators.
Regional Commission facts
Founded by Congress in 1965, when one in three Appalachians lived in poverty. By 1990 the poverty rate had been cut in half.
Shares power 50-50 with states. The governors of the 13 Appalachian states are all members and elect a co-chairman. The commission's federal co-chairman is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
Has allocated $7.4 billion for projects in the region since it began. Highway projects have accounted for nearly two-thirds, $4.4 billion of that amount.
Other projects include creating hospitals and clinics, building vocational schools, providing small-business loans, training teachers and introducing information technology such as distance learning and telemedicine.
More than 740,000 Appalachians have access to clean water and sewage facilities through commission projects.
Counties with greater than 150% of national poverty rate
No. of counties in Appalachia, 1999: 406
SOURCE: Appalachian Regional Commission
CAPTION: A woman sweeps a slaphouse in Hooterville, Ky., in 1993.