West Virginia Population 2016

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 2013, West Virginia's population is estimated at 1,856,624, up only slightly from 1.852 million three years ago. West Virginia has one of the slowest growth rates in the nation at just 0.07%, which ranks 46th.

West Virginia Population 2014

The last countrywide census in the US was undertaken in 2010 so to gauge any numbers in 2012, 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 1950's, at many times losing people. In 2013, the population is estimated at 1,856,624.

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 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 51,400 people. The next largest cities are Huntington (49,138) and Parkersburg (31,492).

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.

West Virginia Population History

Way back in 1790, the population of West Virginia stood at 55,873, a healthy figure for the time. From that point onwards WV 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 1800’s to the point where the West Virginia population had climbed to 958,800 by 1900. A decade on, the census of 1910 confirmed that numbers here had breached one million for the very first time in the state’s history.

Growth continued through the 20th century – although, it must be said, at a much slower pace. However, there have been a couple of dips in population – the national censuses of both 1960 and 1990 revealed falls 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 U.S., 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 stay resilient and remain around 185.7 thousand through 2030.

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

Population Data via US Census