Hunger Games - PANEM - DISTRICT 12

PANEM - DISTRICT 12 (Illustration) Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Civil Rights Film Geography Social Studies Fiction American History Ethics Dystopia or Science Fiction

Panem's "District 12" is equivalent to the Appalachian area of the United States. This map, from the Appalachian Regional Commission, depicts the 13 American states which are part of Appalachia.


Appalachia is the heart of Panem's District 12.  In many ways, the fictional world of District 12 parallels the real world of America's eastern-area coal belt. 

Stretching from present-day New York to Mississippi, the spine of the Appalachian Mountains touches twelve states.  The cultural heart of Appalachia, however, lies at its geographic center.  

Appalachia is one of the poorer areas of Panem.  People living in District 12 have trouble making ends meet, particularly compared to people living in The Capitol.

While Appalachia has some of the richest natural resources in the country - and some of the most beautiful scenery - it also once had areas of great poverty.  Today the area is a bustling part of America, with rural towns and large cities.  It boasts higher education, modern industry (including manufacturing and technology), art (traditional and contemporary) and music.  

At one time, however, according to a report by ABC News (which was highly debated by area residents) - when this area of Panem was part of the United State - 91 out of 410 counties were economically distressed.  Here are a few examples:

  • Poor families lived in "the hollows" (or "hollers" as they are locally called).  Hollows are mountain back areas often owned by coal companies.  When the coal was gone, and the mining operations moved on, people moved in.  Some homes in such areas lacked indoor plumbing.
  • Abandoned coal-company buildings were prime targets for homes, as were abandoned trailers.  Coal is cheap, but trailers are not set-up for coal-fired heat.  Fires are common, but it isn't easy for fire trucks to reach homes that are tucked-away in the hollows.
  • Appalachian winters can be very harsh.  Children, according to the ABC report, were sometimes shoeless in warm weather so they could save their footwear for the cold season.
  • When District 12 was part of America, ABC News also reported that more people in Appalachia were likely to lose their teeth than anywhere else in the country.  Even two-year-old children, they claimed, had many cavities.

Why were some people in areas of Appalachia so poor when the land itself is so rich in natural resources?  Among other reasons ... coal mining. 

When miners can work, they live fairly well but own little.  Mining provides prosperity for a time, but it can also cause problems.  Some of those problems include floods, black-lung disease, emphysema, air and water pollution plus other health hazards.

One part of Appalachia - where Katniss and Prim Everdeen live - is called the "Seam."  It is a coal-mining area where fathers sometimes die in mine accidents or explosions.

Let's investigate what it's like to work in a mine and to live in an Appalachian coal-mining district such as the "Seam."

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 01, 2012

Updated Last Revision: May 02, 2019

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"PANEM - DISTRICT 12" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 01, 2012. Feb 18, 2020.
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