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Leaving home: West Virginia population drop is largest in US

Census West Virginia
Posted at 2:00 PM, May 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-22 14:00:45-04

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia has seen a higher percentage of residents depart than any other state in the past decade.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that from 2010 to 2020, the population has dropped 3.2% — about 59,000 people.

Reasons for not staying vary, but common themes emerge: A lack of opportunity or low pay; not enough to do; poor cell phone service and internet issues, and a political climate that some find oppressive.

In an effort to reverse the population losses, West Virginia started encouraging remote workers to move to the state of 1.79 million residents through a program that will pay them $12,000 cash along with free passes to outdoor activities.