Demographic Trends in Appalachia and Implications for Enrollments in Higher Education: The Case of Marshall University Joshua Hagen, James Leonard, and Aaron Nelson Given Appalachia’s relatively depressed economic profile and limited opportunities, especially for young adults, out-migration to other regions has long been a prominent feature of the region. More recently, declining fertility rates have contributed to create a population that increasing skews toward older age groups, both in absolute numbers and as percentages of the total. This demographic dynamic has broad implications for the socio-economic future of the region. Some of these challenges, like coping with health care costs for an increasingly elderly population, have already been much discussed, but the implications for education have received little attention. This presentation will examine recent demographic trends and future projections to gauge their probable impact on higher education enrollments in the region. Given that many of these demographic trends are most pronounced in the traditional coalfield regions of southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, the presentation will use Marshall University as a case study. Keywords: age demographics, higher education, population geography, West Virginia
Joshua Hagen is a Professor of Geography at Marshall University. His research and teaching interests include political, cultural, and economic geography.
James Leonard is a Professor of Geography at Marshall University. His research and teaching interests include GIS, cultural geography, and the regions of West Virginia and North America.
Aaron Nelson is a senior undergraduate student in the Department of Geography at Marshall University. Her interests include human geography and GIS.
Brit Arcadipane is a graduate student in the Department of Geography at Marshall University with interests in human and regional geography as they pertain to the Appalachian region.
Delbert Cannoy is a graduate student in the Department of Geography at Marshall University with interests in human geography and GIS.
Patrick Donovan is the Director of Maritime and Intermodal Transportation at the Nick J. Rahall II Transportation Institute and is also an adjunct professor at Marshall University. He is also the primary investigator on the Heartland Intermodal Terminal project.
Godwin Dijetror is an Assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Marshall University. His research and teaching interests include economic geography, medical geography, and urban planning.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/james_leonard1/1/