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  • Marcus J. Hopkins

Appalachian Learning Initiative Completes Infographics Database



MORGANTOWN, W. Va., November 13, 2022—The Appalachian Learning Initiative (APPLI, pronounced like "apply") has completed its initial Infographics Database.

With the addition of the Adult Numeracy infographic for Wyoming County, West Virginia—where 84.5% of Appalachian adults struggle to solve math problems with more than three steps—APPLI has uploaded a total of 914 infographics to their Infographics Database.

Appalachian Learning Initiative's Founder & Executive Director, Marcus J. Hopkins
Appalachian Learning Initiative's Founder & Executive Director, Marcus J. Hopkins

"When we first launched APPLI's social media accounts in December 2021, our initial goal was to complete and share a total of five infographics for each of Appalachia's 13 states," said Founder & Executive Director, Marcus J. Hopkins. "The response we received for those infographics led us to realize that we could better inform and guide advocacy efforts by creating infographics for every jurisdiction in the Appalachian Mountain Region."

APPLI uses data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) to evaluate the percentage of adults who struggle with illiteracy and innumeracy. They complement those findings with additional research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Community Survey, and numerous other sources of peer-reviewed data.

The Infographics Database includes at least two infographics for each of Appalachia's 13 states, 423 counties, and 8 independent Virginia cities, making it one of the largest repositories of visualized data about the Appalachian region. Each infographic details the percentage of Appalachian adults who struggle with reading or mathematics and pertinent demographic information about the jurisdiction, including population, poverty rates, high school graduation rates, housing burden rates, and health insurance coverage.

"When we formed the Appalachian Learning Initiative, we intentionally approached adult illiteracy and innumeracy from a public health perspective," continued Hopkins. "We know from decades of research that educational attainment is one of the key drivers of health outcomes—a Social Determinant of Health. But the Social Determinants are not independent variables; there is a bidirectional relationship between each of these factors."

 Appalachian Learning Initiative  3 in 5 Kentucky adults read below an 8th Grade level      National Center for Education Statistics, 2020 APPLI is building solutions Follow us @APPLIOrg:
State-level infographics provide an easy-to-understand visual breakdown of the number of adults struggling with illiteracy or innumeracy

The effort to create infographics for each Appalachian jurisdiction began in August 2022. The initial launch of the database included 156 infographics for Alabama and Georgia's Appalachian counties, and the Infographics Database was completed in just 83 days, averaging nine new infographics a day.

"This is not the final iteration of the Infographics Database," said Hopkins. "The PIAAC is currently in the middle of the third round of their assessments, and although those data will not be finalized until at least 2025. In the meantime, new demographic, public health, and social services utilization data will continue to be released, so we will still have our work cut out for us updating these data as they become available."

APPLI's Infographics Database may be accessed on their website at the following address:

The Appalachian Learning Initiative is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in November 2021 that focuses on researching, reporting on, advocating for, and building solutions to address issues related to adult literacy, numeracy, health literacy, and equitable access to services in the 13-state, 423-county Appalachian Region. APPLI is based in Morgantown, WV, and can be reached at for more information.

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