West Virginia Population 2018

1,803,077

Located in the central eastern sector of the United States of America, West Virginia was admitted into the Union in 1863. It is the 41st largest and the 38th most populous state in the country, but what are the population statistics in the present day? In 2018, West Virginia's population is estimated at 1.80 million, showing a decline from the 1.853 million recorded at the 2010 Census.

The last nationwide census in the US was undertaken in 2010, so to gauge any recent numbers, it is necessary to take the findings from that survey and project them forward to the present day. The 2010 survey revealed that there were 1,852,994 people living in West Virginia, which represented a modest rise of just 2.5% on the numbers declared at the 2000 census. That total makes West Virginia the 38th most populous state in the country.

West Virginia's population has grown very slowly since the 1950s, at many times losing people. Estimates taken in July 2015 indicate that this may once again be the case, as the estimated population in 2018 is just 1.80 million.

West Virginia Area and Population Density

The total surface area of West Virginia measures 24,230 square miles (62,755 square kilometers), which means that an average of 77.1 peoples live on every square mile of West Virginia land. That figure converts to 29.8 people for every square kilometer, and it makes West Virginia the 29th most densely populated in the country -- in that respect, it’s a pretty average state.

Largest Cities and Counties in West Virginia

West Virginia is one of the few US states not to have a city with more than 100,000 residents. In fact, the largest city in the state, Charleston (the state capital) is home to just 49,736 people. The next largest cities are Huntington (48,638) and Parkersburg (30.991).

The majority of West Virginia's counties are designated as rural, with a small majority of the state's population living in a rural area. In 2010, the state had a 51% rural population, compared to 49% urban.

The most populated counties in West Virginia are Kanawha and Berkeley, with respective populations of 183,293 and 114,920.

West Virginia Demographic Notes

Age/Sex, Race, and Religion

The median age across the population of West Virginia is approximately 41.9 years of age. In terms of the ratio of females to males within the population, 50.6% are females and 49.4% are males.

The racial diversity among the population of West Virginia is currently at 93.5% Caucasian, 3.4% African American, 1.8% two or more races, .8% Asian, and .3% other races.

In terms of preferred religions among the population of West Virginia, 78% are affiliated with a Christian based faith, 3% are affiliated with non-Christian based faiths, and 18% are not affiliated with any particular faith.

West Virginia Boundary, Census, and Statehood History

West Virginia was admitted as a State on June 20, 1863, comprising 48 counties formerly part of Virginia; two additional counties, Berkeley and Jefferson, were added in 1866, bringing the State to essentially its present boundaries. Census coverage included all parts of the present State from 1790 on.

West Virginia Population Chart

West Virginia Population History

In 1790, the population of West Virginia stood at 55,873, a healthy figure for the time. From that point on, West Virginia followed a pattern seen in many other states -- sizable population increases on a decade by decade basis.

Ten years later at the beginning of the 19th century, numbers had increased by over 40% to 78,592. This pattern was to continue throughout the 1800s to the point where the West Virginia population had climbed to 958,800 by 1900. A decade later, the census of 1910 confirmed that numbers had breached one million for the very first time in the state’s history.

Growth continued through the 20th century -- although at a much slower pace. However, there have been a couple of dips in population -- the national censuses of both 1960 and 1990 revealed declines in population from those recorded ten years earlier. There is no clear indication as to why this was the case, but over the years, there has been said to have been a ‘brain drain’ of sorts away from this largely rural state as its more educated and qualified citizens seek opportunities elsewhere. As noted above, there are few cities in the state, and as a result, there are relatively few opportunities for ambitious young West Virginians to build careers.

West Virginia Population Growth

West Virginia has had a few years straight of very tepid population growth. This is because the number of deaths are outnumbering births in the state, and there have been just modest gains in the number of people migrating to the area. West Virginia's population is also aging faster than the US, which doesn't bode well.

While West Virginia currently has one of the oldest populations of any state in the country, it's expected its birth rate will grow higher than the country as a whole in 2030. It's likely that the state will continue to age faster than the rest of the country, but at this point, it's hard to say.

Current projections predict West Virginia's college-age and young working-age populations will continue to decline through the next few decades, while the older working-age population will see the largest drop. Over the next twenty years, the following counties are predicted to grow between 21% and 63% each: Berkeley, Jefferson, Monongalia and Morgan. Kanawha County, home to the state capital, is expected to lose population through 2030 but will stay resilient and remain around 185,700 through 2030.

By 2030, it's predicted West Virginia's population will have grown very slightly to around 1.9 million.

Population Data via US Census

West Virginia Growth Rate

West Virginia Population Rank

Year Pop % Change
20201,777,517-0.71%
20191,790,297-0.71%
20181,803,077-0.70%
20171,815,857-0.70%
20161,828,637-100.00%
20161,846,0920.34%
20151,839,767-0.43%
20141,847,624-0.25%
20131,852,333-0.16%
20121,855,3600.03%
20111,854,8910.03%
20101,854,3150.25%
20001,808,3440.08%
19901,793,477-0.83%
19801,949,6441.12%
19701,744,237-0.64%
19601,860,421-0.75%
19502,005,5520.53%
19401,901,9740.96%
19301,729,2051.68%
19201,463,7011.83%
19101,221,1192.45%
1900958,8002.31%
1890762,7942.12%
1880618,4573.42%
1870442,0141.61%
1860376,6882.22%
1850302,3133.02%
1840224,5372.41%
1830176,9242.60%
1820136,8082.64%
1810105,4692.99%
180078,5923.47%
179055,8730.00%

West Virginia Facts

West Virginia Population in 2018Source: By Snoopywv [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia Population Density by County

Kanawha County

  • Population183,293
  • Density203.23 per sq km
  • Growth Since 2010-4.99%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State10.09%

West Virginia Population Growth Rate by County

When comparing data from the 2010 Census to estimates taken by the US Census Bureau in 2015, the information shows that the majority of counties located within the state of West Virginia reflected decreasing populations. However, during this 5-year period, there were a handful of counties that exhibited population growth. The highest growth rate was observed in Monongolia County, at 7.7%. This was followed by 6.93% growth in Berkeley County and 5.33% growth in Jefferson County. Other counties that reflected population growth include Lewis, Marion, Taylor, and Putnam.

As mentioned, the majority of counties saw decreases in population between 2010 and 2015. The highest loss was tracked in McDowell County at 10.15%. Other high losses in the state include Wyoming County's 6.61% loss, Pendleton County's 5.92% decrease, and Logan County's 5.5% population drop.

Population by Race

Race Population
White1,725,411
Black or African American63,305
Two or More Races33,726
Asian13,990
Some Other Race5,731
American Indian and Alaska Native3,281
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander648

Race Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey)

West Virginia Population Pyramid 2018

0%2%4%6%8% Male Population0%2%4%6%8% Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table S0101

West Virginia Median Age

41.9


Total

40.7


Male

43.1


Female

West Virginia Adults

There are 1,465,797 adults, (328,604 of which are seniors) in West Virginia.

West Virginia Age Dependency

62.2

Age Dependency Ratio

28.8

Old Age Dependency Ratio

33.4

Child Dependency Ratio

West Virginia Sex Ratio

Female

933,822

50.58%

Male

912,270

49.42%

West Virginia Households and Families

West Virginia Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

West Virginia Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married86.4%13.6%
All72.5%27.5%
Male65.7%34.3%
Non Family59.6%40.4%
Female55.8%44.2%

72.5%

Rate of Home Ownership

West Virginia Households by Type

Type Count Average Size Owned
All739,3972.4372.5
Married360,2903.0386.4
Non Family260,5641.2359.6
Female84,4343.2455.8
Male34,1093.2865.7

3

Average Family Size

2.43

Average Household Size

5.8%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.3%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

West Virginia Households

West Virginia Education

West Virginia Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade64,0474.94%
9th to 12th Grade126,1019.72%
High School Graduate524,97140.47%
Some College240,40418.53%
Associates Degree87,8896.78%
Bachelors Degree153,83411.86%
Graduate Degree99,8727.70%

West Virginia Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White1,216,2401,037,333234,797
Black40,94335,8756,406
Multiple Races13,92911,8642,998
Hispanic13,79610,8992,755
Asian9,6278,9436,123
Other Race3,3042,558839
Native American2,5031,843353
Islander45938616

The highest rate of high school graduation is among asian people with a rate of 92.89%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 63.60%.

West Virginia Earnings by Educational Attainment

Name Average Male Female
Overall$31,891$40,146$25,838
Less Than High School$20,338$25,455$14,171
High School Grad$27,008$34,987$20,781
Some College$30,568$40,735$24,889
Bachelors Degree$42,248$52,270$36,727
Graduate Degree$54,710$67,543$49,444

$31,891

Average Earnings

$40,146

Average Male

$25,838

Average Female

West Virginia Language

West Virginia Language by Age

West Virginia Language

97.55% of West Virginia residents speak only English, while 2.45% speak other languages. The largest non-English language is Spanish, which is spoken by 1.04% of the population.

West Virginia Poverty

West Virginia Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White1,665,180283,63317.03%
Black55,28017,04230.83%
Multiple32,2559,10628.23%
Hispanic23,8645,58223.39%
Asian13,4602,21916.49%
Other5,0941,42928.05%
Native3,13572423.09%
Islander58413923.80%

17.74%

Overall Poverty Rate

16.24%

Male Poverty Rate

19.20%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in West Virginia

The race most likely to be in poverty in West Virginia is Black, with 30.83% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in West Virginia is Asian, with 16.49% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.02%. Among those working part-time, it was 21.51%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 24.47%.

West Virginia Poverty Rate by Education

Name Poverty
Less Than High School29.16%
High School14.93%
Some College12.29%
Bachelors or Greater4.53%

West Virginia Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Name Poverty
Female Unemployed41.96%
Male Unemployed35.58%
Female Employed9.36%
Male Employed6.41%

West Virginia Income

West Virginia Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$42,644$57,779
Families$54,409$68,895
Married Families$63,984$78,693
Non Families$23,756$35,006

West Virginia Marital Status

West Virginia Marital Status

Marriage Rates

50.0%

Overall Marriage Rate

51.3%

Male Marriage Rate

48.7%

Female Marriage Rate

West Virginia Married by Age and Sex

West Virginia Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45To54.

West Virginia Marital Status by Race

West Virginia Veterans

West Virginia Veterans by War

145,171

Number of Veterans

136,950

Male Veterans

8,221

Female Veterans

Name Veterans
Vietnam56,455
First Gulf War24,101
Second Gulf War17,259
Korea14,710
World War II7,536

West Virginia Veterans by Age

Name Veterans
65 to 7440,182
35 to 5433,390
75+32,684
55 to 6429,456
18 to 349,459

West Virginia Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White136,9959.94%
Black5,06310.18%
2 or More2,13111.77%
Hispanic1,2757.21%
Indian34912.67%
Other3387.86%
Asian2432.10%
Hawaiian5210.46%

West Virginia Veterans by Education

8.30%

Veteran Poverty Rate

36.29%

Veteran Disability Rate

West Virginia Employment Status

West Virginia Employment by Age

53.8%

Labor Force Participation

49.7%

Employment Rate

7.5%

Unemployment Rate

West Virginia Employment by Race

West Virginia Employment by Education

West Virginia Nativity

West Virginia Citizenship Status

Data Sources
  1. West Virginia Bureau of Business & Economic Research
  2. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  3. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  5. Census QuickFacts
  6. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)