Census update: West Virginia population is shrinking, but what does this mean?

West Virginia Headlines

The latest Census numbers are in, and the results are not what people in the Northern Panhandle want to hear. People here and in other areas of the state are not calling this their home anymore.

7 News Reporter Aliah Keller gives us a look at the numbers and breaks down what this means to the Mountain State.

The population is shrinking in West Virginia with a more than 3% drop in the last decade.

“I think the drop was the most of any state in the country. Our population fell by almost 60,000 people.”

Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia

In just the Northern Panhandle, Ohio County is down from 44,000 to about 41,000.That’s a 3,000 drop, just like Marshall County, while Brooke and Hancock lost around 2,000.

That decline isn’t anything that caught West Virginia Delegate Erikka Storch off guard.

“There’s been discussions over the last few years, frankly, that West Virginia was likely to be the only state that would lose a Congressional Representative.”

Del. Erikka Storch, (R) Ohio County

But West Virginia wasn’t the only state to lose representation. So did California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

But here, the Mountain State has gone from 3 Congressional Representatives down to 2. However, that’s not the only impact of it.

“West Virginia will have smaller voices in the people’s House in Washington, and that can also affect money’s flowing into our state.”

Del. Erikka Storch, (R) Ohio County

State Representation and Finances may both be taking a hit.

How much dollar bills flowing into our state goes hand-in-hand with our population size and rural composition and with a decline, that may just have a direct impact.

But there’s hope the trend may eventually go up. But only time will tell.

“I think we need to turn the tide. We need to share our story. We need to show the good things about West Virginia.”

Del. Erikka Storch, (R) Ohio County

Delegate Erikka Storch believes the significant drop has to do with our children moving out of the state to pursue other opportunities.

If you’d like to express concerns on this, there’s a public hearing August 24th at 6pm in the Independence Hall. You’d just have to sign up beforehand to speak.

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