Huffpost Business

Where The Income Gap And The Lifespan Gap Meet

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A view of Welch, W.Va., on April 8, 2004. Welch is the county seat of McDowell county. Since the coal boom ended, McDowell county has struggled with poverty and high rates of unemployment. (AP Photo/Jon C. Hancock) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Fairfax County, Va., and McDowell County, W.Va., are separated by 350 miles, about a half-day’s drive. Traveling west from Fairfax County, the gated communities and bland architecture of military contractors give way to exurbs, then to farmland and eventually to McDowell’s coal mines and the forested slopes of the Appalachians. Perhaps the greatest distance between the two counties is this: Fairfax is a place of the haves, and McDowell of the have-nots.

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