There's a report out from Alter, Fuller, Sontheimer and Seigworth at Penn State, with good summary coverage by Jeff McGaw at the Reading Eagle. It shows how there are really two Pennsylvanias, economically speaking. While this isn't surprising, the degree and timing of the divergence is.
Besides being my home state, Pennsylvania might interest you because it's a swing state, which is in turn directly related to the mix of cultural and economies that comprise it. Pennsylvania is part Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, part inner Midwest/Rustbelt, and - often ignored, but quite important in these numbers - part Appalachia. Overall the state is lagging all of its Northeastern neighbors but one (more on that in a second), because Pennsylvania's numbers are an average of two regions - the sucessful part (Philly and southeastern PA, which have done quite well after the 2008 recession) with the rest of the state.
You can see the figures at the report and article, but here's an instructive map. The top is the county-level 2016 presidential election data. On the bottom is county resident employment in the post-recession period 2008-2016. Even if you don't know PA geography, the resemblance is obvious.
It turns out the only state that Pennsylvania beats in the Northeast group is West Virginia, not coincidentally. The central-and-western PA counties have numbers that look remarkably similar to West Virginia's post-recession numbers in terms of jobs lost and unemployment, but when averaged with Philly and suburbs, these are obscured and you end up with one mediocre-looking state, instead of a very depressed large rural region, and a very successful metropolitan area. West Virginia comes across as struggling much more clearly, because it's the only state entirely within the Appalachians. (The Bad Stripe, a demographic region of bad quality-of-life and human development indicators, roughly corresponds to "Greater Appalachia" and does extend into somewhat into Pennsylvania.)
So these maps tell two stories. First, it's a cliche of campaign strategists and the cultural commentariat that Pennsylvania is "Philly on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in between." But that's not exactly right. Pennsylvania is Appalachia, with Philly and suburbs in one corner. And remember all those angry unemployed coal miners we've heard so much about? They live in Appalachia. Second, the late 90s/early aughts began the renaissance of the Northeastern American city, and even the recession couldn't stop that momentum. The divergence you see in these numbers and maps of Pennsylvania is both these stories, playing out in the same state.
The problem is that coal has been dead in PA for decades, and many of the males demanding its return at this point have never even worked in the industry - more likely, their fathers did. It's a cultural problem. We all know that coal is not coming back and that it has nothing to do with regulations, a narrative people in this part of the country are unlikely to accept. (Abstract economic forces are much harder to viscerally hate than bad people hurting you by design.) What's worse, the cities, full of alien people unlike you, have come roaring back; worse still, this has happened just as media has become all-pervasive and reminded you that these people look down their nose at you, whereas at least before, you might have been poor in Clearfield County, without being constantly reminded you were on the bottom of a status hierarchy that was exactly inverted, with the most immoral people at the top.
The reality is, for all us blue-staters in the suburbs and cities, these numbers show you that even though your suburb might be getting better all the time, things really are bad out there in the hinterlands, and this is why they were so desperate for a change they voted for Trump. And they're going to vote for Trump again as long as we don't show some solidarity with our countrymen and ignore their problems or even dismiss them with active contempt, which I admit I've been tempted to myself. It may be taking a while for people to accept that coal is dead, but it's certainly not their fault. I don't have a clear policy prescription for how to help life get better in interior Pennsylvania, but taking people's problems seriously seems like a good place to start - which I deeply hope the Democrats do in 2018 and 2020, or Trump will get re-elected.
 Many people called the 2008 recession a "man-cession", with men disproportionately hit relative to women. Nowhere was this more likely to be true than Pennsylvania, with effects lingering until today. Construction and construction-adjacent industries were also propped up by capital flowing in from outside in the days of easy loans, and now that those funds have dried up, those industries aren't coming back either. This region is part of the health-belt, because it has an overabundance of older people, and the one source of income that has grown to these regions - Federal dollars in the form of Medicare disrbusements. Therefore, many of these un- and under-employed men have wives working in nursing or other healthcare fields who are now the breadwinners, a final slap in the face for many people in this region.
 More than once, both online and in person, I've seen sub/urban centrists/liberals express sympathy for the plight of people in another country whose luck had run out when the local mineral was exploited, then in the same conversation, say about fellow Americans essentially, "Coal is dead, get over it losers." If Democrats want to win elections at some point, this attitude has to stop, because it seeps through online and in legacy media, and people can smell it.
 Mountainous regions tend to be poorer than non-mountainous regions because they're hard to grow - difficulty of agriculture means little opportunity for a service economy to develop. There are exceptions to the rule (e.g. Jackson, WY) but those are based on outside capital brought in by wealthy in-migrants or tourists. Out of curiosity I looked at Colorado to see if a similar relationship exists between election returns, economics and mountains, as in PA (the eastern half of CO is flat prairie and the western half is the Rockies.) Eyeballing it, there may be some pattern, but certainly not as clear as for PA. Speculatively, it could be that PA's mountains are smaller, and have been settled for (generations) longer, therefore producing an actual population that shows the impact of "bad mountain economies" - as opposed to CO, which has a much more thinly scattered population and may be more mobile relative to what resources there are. Concretely: a the coal mine opens in the PA Appalachians and a town grows up around it, which doesn't just evaporate when the mine is played out by 1980 - by this point the families have been there for generations, and the climate isn't so harsh, and leaving just isn't really considered. Versus CO, where an unobtainium mine opened in 1920, and is just about played out - but the settlement around it is a high-turnover one of mostly youngish men who aren't living at 10,000 feet elevation for fun, and they clear out.
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