Residents of 7 West Virginia Towns Are Leaving As Soon As They Can


For many years, West Virginia has been experiencing a drop in its population. As per the 2020 U.S. Census, West Virginia’s population decreased by 3.3% during the previous ten years, reaching 1,792,147. The state’s declining population also resulted in the loss of one congressional seat.

Both rural and urban counties are feeling the effects of the population reduction, but some towns are feeling the effects more severely than others. These seven West Virginia towns are experiencing a mass exodus, as indicated by census statistics and online search results.

1. Charleston

The largest and capital city of the state, Charleston, has seen a steady decline in population over time. Between 2010 and 2020, the city’s population decreased by 5%, reaching 48,864. In contrast, slightly around 86,000 people were living in Charleston in 1960. The collapse of the coal sector and the lack of diversification have had a significant negative impact on the city’s economy. In addition, the city has to deal with issues like poverty, crime, and deteriorating infrastructure.

2. Huntington

Marshall University is located in Huntington, the state’s second-largest city. The population of the city did, however, also experience a notable reduction, falling from over 84,000 in 1960 to 46,842 in 2020. The opioid crisis, the loss of manufacturing jobs, and the exodus of young, intelligent individuals have all hurt the city. The city has been working to bring new businesses and revive its downtown, but there are still a lot of challenges to overcome.

3. Wheeling

In the past, Wheeling was a thriving steel town and the state’s cultural center. The population of the city, however, has drastically decreased, from a little over 27,000 in 2020 to about 60,000 in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Many of the city’s ancient buildings have been abandoned or dismantled, and the city’s industrial base has collapsed. Despite its efforts to save its history and boost tourism, the city continues to face social and economic problems.

4. Beckley

The largest city in southern West Virginia and a major hub for the coal industry is Beckley. The population of the city, which was over 19,000 in 1950 but just 17,286 in 2020, has similarly been decreasing. The decline in the coal market, environmental restrictions, and the competition from natural gas have all had an impact on the city. Although the city has been making an effort to broaden its economic base and provide more leisure and educational options, there are still numerous obstacles in its way.

5. Bluefield

Bluefield, a small city on the Virginia border, was formerly a mining and railroad town. In the past ten years, the city’s population has decreased by 8%, reaching fewer than 10,000 in 2020. The population of Bluefield was twice as large sixty years ago. The city has been losing young people, its tax base, and its economic base. The city is nevertheless beset by a lack of possibilities and resources, despite its efforts to rehabilitate its downtown and draw in new enterprises.

6. Weirton

Weirton is a former steel town located in the state’s northern panhandle. From more than 28,000 in 1960 to just over 19,000 in 2020, the city’s population has decreased. Over the past ten years, the population of the city has decreased by 3%. The loss of jobs, the closing of the steel mills, and the exodus of its citizens have all destroyed the city. The city has been making an effort to change and draw in new industries, but there are still a lot of obstacles in its way.

7. Clarksburg

Northcentral West Virginia’s Clarksburg was formerly a coal and glass town. Between 1960 and 2020, the city’s population dropped from almost 28,000 to 16,061. Over the past ten years, the city’s population has decreased by roughly 500 inhabitants. The loss of the city’s traditional industries, the lack of economic variety, and the exodus of its youth have all had an effect. Although the city has been making efforts to enhance its quality of life and infrastructure, it still has a lot of issues.


The population of West Virginia has been declining for a considerable amount of time. Both urban and rural areas are being impacted by the downturn, however, some places are more badly hit than others. These communities are losing their citizens, economic output, employment, and vibrancy. Numerous issues confront these towns including social disintegration, environmental deterioration, political marginalization, and economic stagnation.

Along with seeking answers, these towns are attempting community growth, cultural preservation, economic diversification, and civic involvement. These solutions, however, are difficult to put into practice or maintain, and they need increased collaboration and support from the federal, state, and nonprofit sectors in addition to the private sector. Though more assistance and optimism are required for these towns to stop their downward spiral and resume growing, they are not without hope.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.