Population Of West Virginia

A Saturday afternoon street scene. Welch, McDowell County, West Virginia in 1946.
A Saturday afternoon street scene. Welch, McDowell County, West Virginia in 1946.

Vital Statistics Of The Population Of West Virginia

The US state of West Virginia (WV) has a population of 1,844,128. The population has grown somewhat over the last few years and is mainly as a result of immigration. People moving into the state mainly come from other areas in the US, only 1.1% of the population here is foreign-born. This state is the only one in the country where the number of deaths exceeds the number of births; over a 3 year period, 3,000 more deaths than births occurred; this is called a net mortality society. In terms of health, WV ranks last or second to last. It has some of the highest rates in the country for cancer, diabetes, disabilities, low birth weights, teeth loss, and deaths due to drugs. Approximately 17.3% of its residents have obtained a bachelor's degree, the lowest percentage in the country. Many of these statistics are related to the extremely high rates of poverty within the state. Low educational attainment and poor health go hand in hand with low socioeconomic statuses.

Racial Composition Of The Population Of West Virginia

The racial demographics of the state are as follows: White (93.9%), Black (3.4%), Asian (.7%), Native American (.2%), Other Races (.3%), and Two or More Races (1.5%). The majority of residents are of European descent. German ancestry ranks highest (18.9%); followed by Irish (15.1%); American, an ethnic identity that moved away from hyphenating and generally dates back to colonial-era genealogy (12.9%); English (11.8%); and Italian (4.7%).

Religion Of The People Of West Virginia

Statistics of religious beliefs within this state are difficult to accurately calculate due to a large number of independent, non-affiliated churches. This occurrence is common throughout Appalachian communities and may increase the percentage of irreligious or unaffiliated. Christianity is the most widely practiced religion, however, with 77% of the population reporting this as their beliefs. Of the various Christian denominations, the vast majority are Evangelicals, followed by Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, and Lutheran. Approximately 3% of the population practice other religions such as Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism. One-fifth of those questioned responded as unaffiliated or refused to answer. These numbers make WV the 7th most religious state in the nation.

Economy Of West Virginia

This state once relied mainly on the coal mining and lumber industries. Modernization of extraction methods, however, have resulted in decreased job opportunities for residents in many areas, particularly the south. Although, energy continues to play a big role in the economy. WV is one of the leading exporters of coal mine production, interstate electricity, and natural gas. It is responsible for 15% of national fossil fuel energy use. Other big industries within the state also provide jobs and revenue. Chemical production, for example, provides 20% of all manufacturing jobs in the state and 40% of all manufacturing economic output. Biotech industries such as Dow, DuPont, and PPG, are another big economic contributor to the region. Over 45,000 residents work in advanced technology industries, and the state is 34th in the nation for received federal research and development funds. With the state’s wealth of natural resources, protected parks, music festivals, and historic places, tourism is also important to the economy. This industry provides approximately 44,000 jobs to residents. Unfortunately, while the salary for income earners in the lowest brackets increased by 19% across the country, it decreased by 3% in WV. In 2013, the state lost nearly 6,000 industry specific jobs; although in general, jobs grew by 1,000 positions.

Population Of West Virginia

RankRacial composition% Of Population (2010)
5Other race0.3%
6Two or more races1.5%

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