3 West Virginia Towns People Are Fleeing As Soon As Possible


West Virginia is experiencing a demographic catastrophe. The state is unique in that it has had declines in every census taken since 1950, having lost over 3% of its population in the last ten years. Though the state as a whole is impacted by the population decline, some communities suffer more severely than others. These three West Virginian villages are experiencing a mass exodus.


According to a research by The Hill, Beckley is the fourth fastest decreasing city in the United States. The town’s population has decreased by 7.9% since 2010, when it was a prosperous coal mining center. Due to the demise of the coal industry and a lack of possibilities and economic diversification, many locals have moved abroad in search of better opportunities. In addition, Beckley has high rates of drug addiction, crime, and poverty, making it an undesirable area to live and work.


The largest and capital city of the state, Charleston, is one of the ten cities in the nation that is declining the fastest. As per the 2020 Census, the population of the city has decreased by 6.9% in the past ten years. Beckley and Charleston both deal with issues including the dwindling coal and other industrial sectors, the absence of innovation and economic growth, and the social issues of drug use, poverty, and crime. The city also faces challenges from a declining tax base, environmental problems, and outdated infrastructure.


Another community whose population has drastically decreased over time is Bluefield. Situated near the Virginia border, the community has seen a decline in population of 8% since 2010 and over 50% since 1960. Bluefield used to be a thriving coal and railroad town, but it hasn’t changed with the times or the markets. The town is a boring and desolate place to live due to its lack of services, entertainment, and facilities.


These three towns serve as illustrations of West Virginia’s demographic dilemma. The state must devise strategies to buck the current trend and draw in new residents. This will necessitate making investments in infrastructure, technology, health care, education, and other areas in addition to diversifying the economy and generating additional opportunities and jobs. If not, West Virginia will keep losing people and its significance in the country.

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