Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Charles L. Cleland

Committee Members

David Brown, Charles Sappington


The study was undertaken at the suggestion of the Commission on Religion in Appalachia, a private development agency with programs in Central Appalachia. Given limited resources, and the difficulty of knowing firsthand the circumstances in such a large area, the Commission desired that a measurement of socio-economic status be devised and ap-plied to the sixty Central Appalachian counties, facilitating recogni-tion of areas of more critical need. The primary goal of the study was to scale the sixty counties in relation to each other as regards their individual levels of develop-ment. To measure developmental status, a composite index of develop-ment was proposed, which included fourteen socio-economic indicators. The indicators were chosen on the basis of subjective analysis of the components which affect the social and economic well-being of a geo-graphic area. Only secondary data sources were utilized, with emphasis placed on the 1970 Census of the Population. The counties were initially scaled in respect to each development indicator. Both observed values and ranked results were reported. The technique of common factor analysis, coupled with oblique rotation, was then employed to detect patterned relationships in the data. Three salient factors were identified, descriptively named "level of develop-ment," "immobility," and "level of industrial activity." Rankings for each county for each factor were reported. A reduced-scale development index utilizing four variables was devised as a working index of developmental change. It was found to yield results closely correlated with those of the fourteen-variable reference index.

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