West Virginia’s population loss, driven by more people moving out of state than moving in and a negative birth-to-death rate, could be helped by an improving economy, according to a West Virginia University economics expert; however, he said, the state has to have “fundamental economic reform” to reverse the trend. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, West Virginia was one of only two states to see a population decrease (18,000 or 1 percent) between 2007 and 2017.
“The problem is region specific, like most any other economic issue in our state. A few regions are doing just fine in terms of population, while others have been hit very hard. The good news is that the out-migration figure will improve as our economy is improving. The figure is a lagging statistic, so it will take a little more time to really see this in the data, but I’m confident that we will have some improvement already. However, the more fundamental solution is simply to push for reforms that strengthen our economy, create more job opportunities, and attract people to move into the state. Essentially it boils down to fundamental economic reform.”
Contact info: John.Deskins@mail.wvu.edu; 304.293.7876
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