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7 West Virginia Towns People Are Fleeing As Soon As Possible

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West Virginia is a state full of nice people, gorgeous beauty, and a rich history. It is a state, meanwhile, that has recently had to deal with a number of issues, including social issues, environmental deterioration, economic stagnation, and demographic decline. West Virginia lost more citizens than any other state in the union, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The population fell 3.2%, or roughly 59,000 persons, between 2010 and 2020. As a result, after the 2020 census, West Virginia was one of just seven states to lose a congressional seat.

People are leaving West Virginia for a variety of reasons, such as inadequate employment opportunities, low income, a lack of things to do, an oppressive political environment, and bad internet and telephone coverage. While some elderly and retired individuals are looking for warmer and more cheaper regions to reside, many young, educated people are leaving their home states in quest of better opportunities. The state’s infrastructure, public services, tax base, and standard of living have all been impacted by the population loss.

While some West Virginian towns and cities are attempting to rebuild themselves and draw in new citizens, others are finding it difficult to survive and deal with the loss of their localities. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that, based on the percentage of population change from 2010 to 2020, the following seven West Virginia towns are experiencing a mass exodus.

1. Welch

McDowell County, which was formerly the nation’s top coal-producing county, has Welch as its county seat. But the town and its residents have suffered as a result of the opioid crisis, the collapse of the coal industry, poverty, and crime. The population of Welch fell from 2,406 in 2010 to 1,838 in 2020, a 23.6% decline. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the town has a 12.9% unemployment rate, a poverty rate of 36.4%, and a median household income of $25,625.

2. War

In McDowell County, War is a different town that has experienced the same issues as Welch. War, which got its name from the adjacent War Creek, was formerly a bustling coal mining town. But the town’s future is grim as it has been losing industries and residents for decades. The population of War fell from 862 in 2010 to 665 in 2020, a reduction of 22.9%. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the town has a 14.5% unemployment rate, a 38.8% poverty rate, and a median household income of $23,750.

3. Ansted

The community of Ansted, which is part of Fayette County, is situated on the edge of the New River Gorge, a well-liked vacation spot and national park. Ansted was formerly an affluent and sophisticated town, founded by a British geologist and coal mine owner. But the village has been growing increasingly remote and abandoned, losing its people and charm. The population of Ansted fell from 1,404 in 2010 to 1,140 in 2020, an 18.8% decline. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the town has a 9.4% unemployment rate, a 23.9% poverty rate, and a median household income of $33,750.

4. Matoaka

The Native American princess Pocahontas, sometimes known as Matoaka, is the inspiration behind the name of the town of Matoaka in Mercer County. The town has degenerated into decay after serving as a coal mining and railroad hub in the past. The population of Matoaka fell from 227 in 2010 to 185 in 2020, an 18.4% reduction. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the town has a 16.2% unemployment rate, a 44.3% poverty rate, and a median household income of $21,250.

5. Gary

The U.S. Steel Corporation founded the town of Gary in McDowell County as a community for coal mining companies. Gary used to be a thriving, diversified town with a theater, golf course, hospital, and swimming pool. But the town’s infrastructure and services have deteriorated, its population have left, and the collapse of the coal industry has left it completely destroyed. The population of Gary fell from 968 in 2010 to 794 in 2020, a 17.9% decline. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the town has a median household income of $24,063, a poverty rate of 35.8%, and an unemployment rate of 11.8%.

6. Rainelle

Two brothers established Rainelle, a town in Greenbrier County, by constructing a sizable lumber mill and a railroad. Once upon a time, Rainelle was a bustling town with a wide selection of stores, eateries, and entertainment options. But the town has suffered greatly from the demise of the lumber sector, the death of its youthful populace, and the floods that destroyed its shops and residences. The population of Rainelle fell from 1,505 in 2010 to 1,237 in 2020, a 17.8% decline. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the town has an unemployment rate of 8.9%, a poverty rate of 28.9%, and a median family income of $29,375.

7. Mullens

In honor of a railroad magnate who contributed to the development of the coal resources in the area, the city of Mullens was established in Wyoming County. Once, Mullens had a thriving downtown, a hospital, a college, and a newspaper. It was also a prosperous city. But the city has been in decline for years because of the demise of the coal industry, the closing of the largest companies in the area, and the absence of a diversified economy. The population of Mullens fell from 1,559 in 2010 to 1,283 in 2020, a 17.7% decline. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the city has a median household income of $27,500, a poverty rate of 30.9%, and an unemployment rate of 10.4%.

Conclusion

There are plenty of opportunities in West Virginia, but there are also plenty of obstacles to conquer. The state boasts breathtaking natural beauty, a devoted workforce, and a rich cultural heritage. But the state also has to diversify its economy away from coal and other extractive industries, and invest in infrastructure, innovation, health care, and education. It is imperative for the state to both draw and keep young, skilled individuals, and to provide them with greater opportunities and inducements to relocate or remain in the state.

The state must also promote a more optimistic and forward-thinking view of itself by embracing its diversity and inclusivity. Additionally, the state must assist in reviving small towns and rural communities and assist them in adjusting to the problems and changes they confront. Along with promoting its potential for tourism and recreation, the state must also safeguard and conserve its natural resources and cultural legacy.

While West Virginia offers plenty, there is much room for improvement. The state is full of possibilities, but it’s also full of issues. The state is very proud, but it is also quite hurt. Both hope and despair are abundant throughout the state. The state has many tasks ahead of it, but there are also many opportunities to investigate. There are many people who adore the state, but there are also many who move away from it. The state is full of stories to write as well as many stories to share. The state has a great deal of history to preserve and a great deal of history to create. There is a lot of America in the state in addition to West Virginia.

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