West Virginia

West Virginia by the Numbers:
Key Statistical Data and Facts

Key Details

  • As of 2022, West Virginia's population is approximately 1.79 million 
  • The state has a higher percentage of residents above 65 years of age (21%) than the national average (16.8%). 
  • The second largest demographic in West Virginia is individuals under 18 years old, representing 20% of the population.  
  • Approximately 73.9% of housing units in West Virginia are owned by their inhabitants, higher than the national average of 64.6%.  
  • The state has around 1.2 million registered voters, with a predominantly Democratic demographic, although the current governor is a Republican. 
  • As of 2023, the unemployment rate in West Virginia is 3.4%, consistent with the national average. 
  • The life expectancy in West Virginia is 72.8 years. 
  • The incarceration rate is 340 per 100,000 individuals in the general population, with higher rates for males and lower rates for females. 

West Virginia Population Demographics

The 12th least populous state, West Virginia, is home to roughly 1.79 million residents, according to the Census Bureau's data for 2020. The state's population marks a small decline from the last census conducted in 2010, which recorded approximately 1.85 million residents. 

Around 21% of state residents are above 65, higher than the countrywide mean of 16.8%. Individuals under 18 comprised the second largest demographic in West Virginia, representing 20% of the state's population. However, this proportion is slightly lower than the national average of 22.2%. The female population of West Virginia accounts for slightly over half, at 50.1%.

West Virginia Housing

858 481
According to the data released by the United States Census Bureau for 2021, the number of housing units in West Virginia was approximately 858,481 in 2021.
Around 73.9% of these residences were owned by their inhabitants, with renters residing in the remaining 26.1%.
A higher proportion of households are owned by their inhabitants compared to the standard rate of 64.6% in the country. Census data shows that each household comprises 2.47 individuals.
The typical value of homes belonging to their owners in West Virginia was $128,800, and those who had a mortgage had a median monthly expenditure of $1,101.
On average, people without a mortgage spend $345 each month.
The average monthly rental cost for all rental properties in West Virginia was $770.

West Virginia Racial Demographics


Based on data from the Census Bureau for 2022, most of West Virginia's population comprises Caucasians or white people, accounting for approximately 93.1% of the total population. African Americans or Black individuals constitute the second-largest ethnic cluster in the state, accounting for roughly 3.7% of its inhabitants.

  • White only
  • Black or African-American alone
  • Asian alone

The proportion of individuals who identify as Hispanic or Latino in West Virginia comprises roughly 1.9% of the entire state's populace, while the Asian community constitutes 0.9% of the total population.

In addition, West Virginia has lower proportions of different racial groups, comprising 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native. 2.0% of individuals belong to two or more races.

White 93.1% 
Black or African American  3.7% 
Asian  0.9% 
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.3% 
Hispanic or Latino 1.9% 

Elections in West Virginia

West Virginia is considered a red state. Jim Justice, a Republican, won his reelection in 2020 to serve a second term as the Governor of West Virginia. However, he initially served as a Democratic governor after winning the 2016 elections before converting to the Republican party in 2017.  

As of 2023, West Virginia is represented by Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito in the US Senate. Manchin, a member of the Democratic Party, has held his position since 2010, whereas Capito, a Republican, has been in office since 2015. 

2020 Presidential Election 

During the Presidential Election of 2020, West Virginia maintained its Republican-leaning voting pattern. Republican nominee Donald Trump won the state with a notable margin to secure the electoral votes. Around 545,382 ballots, accounting for 68.62% of the overall votes, were cast in favor of Trump in the state. Approximately 29.69% of the total votes cast, or roughly 235,984 votes, were received by Democratic nominee Joe Biden.  

Joe Biden

68.62% of votes

Donald Trump

29.69% of votes

West Virginia Voting Statistics

Approximately 1.2 million residents are registered voters, accounting for roughly 68% of the population. West Virginia features a predominantly Democratic demographic, with around 472,238 residents identifying as such. Conversely, approximately 430,593 voters align themselves with the Republican party. Among the total population, a greater number of 283,411 individuals remain unaffiliated, while 48,562 individuals associate themselves with Third Parties such as independents. In 2020, approximately 65% of registered voters (781,000) participated in the election.


How Educated is West Virginia

Statistics from the US Census Bureau reveal that 88.1% of residents in West Virginia had a high school diploma or equivalent qualification between 2017-2021. In the same period, the proportion of West Virginia inhabitants with bachelor's degrees was approximately 21.8%, less than the 33.7% norm nationally.  

Grouped by age, 12.8% of residents between 18 and 24 had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 39.7% of residents between 35 and 44. Asians had the highest percentage of educational attainment 56.4% of Asians had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 38.3% of whites, 24.9% of blacks, and 18.2% of Hawaiians.  

As of 2023, West Virginia has over three dozen colleges and universities. Bethany College is the oldest post-secondary institute, while West Virginia has the largest (non-online) enrollment, with 29,500+ students, followed by Marshall University, with 11,000+ enrollments.  

West Virginia Employment Rate

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in West Virginia stood at 3.4% as of March 2023.  Out of a civilian workforce of 782,300 workers, 756,800 workers were employed, while 25,600 were unemployed. The Government services industry accounted for the largest share of jobs, with 148,000 workers, ahead of the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector with 123,000 jobs.

Across 12 months, the Mining and Logging sector grew by 11.7%, the largest of all the industries. Conversely, West Virginia recorded declining employment within the construction, manufacturing, and professional-and-business services sector. 77% of workers drove alone to work, compared to the 10.2% who worked from home and 8.8% who carpooled. 2.1% walked to work, while 0.4% relied on public transportation.

Average Income in West Virginia

Per the latest figures from the US Census Bureau, the approximate median annual earnings for households in West Virginia stood at $50,884 for 2021. The amount falls below the average annual earnings of households in the country, which is $69,021. In 2021, the per-person earnings amounted to around $28,761, significantly below the mean nationwide income of $37,638. 16% of people residing in the state experience poverty compared to the nationwide average of 11.6%.  

Families in West Virginia

West Virginia Marriage Rates

2.9 per 1,000
The marriage rate in West Virginia has remained relatively constant in recent times, as per information provided by the National Center for Health Statistics. The state's marriage rate in 2021 was equivalent to the national average at 6 per 1,000 of the entire population. By 2021, according to the Census Bureau, there were 493,688 married men and 555,708 married women in the State of West Virginia.  

West Virginia Divorce Rates

Based on the statistics presented by the CDC, West Virginia's divorce rate in 2021 was 2.9 per 1,000 individuals, which is marginally lower than the national average of 2.5 per 1,000 individuals, implying a greater preference for the sanctity of marriage in the state. In the year 2021, per the Census Bureau, there were a total of 5,525 divorces by males resident in West Virginia and 5,886 divorces by female residents in the state.

Life Expectancy in West Virginia

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the life expectancy for West Virginia is 72.8 as of 2021. This is a slight decline from the life expectancy in 2020 of 74.5 across the state. Heart Disease was the leading cause of death in 2021, resulting in 5,549 deaths. Other leading causes of death included cancer, Covid-19, and accidents, with 4,820, 3,619, and 2,474 deaths, respectively. The death rate per 100,000 residents for firearms, drug overdose, and homicide was 17.3, 90.9, and 6.9, respectively.  

As of 2021, West Virginia recorded 54.7 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. Roughly 45.7% of births were to unmarried mothers. The state had a Cesarean delivery rate of 34 per 100 live births and a 12.81 preterm birth rate.  

West Virginia Crime Rates

In 2019, the metropolitan counties of West Virginia witnessed 8,853 crime incidents, as the Federal Bureau of Investigations reported. Conversely, rural regions had significantly fewer crime incidents, with  2,813 reported offenses. Between 2015 and 2019, violent crime fluctuated, peaking in 2018 and hitting a five-year low in 2019. Aggravated assault was the most reported violent crime, while larceny/theft was the most recorded property crime. West Virginia recorded 3,640 cases of aggravated assault in 2019 and 4,843 in 2018. In comparison, law enforcement agencies recorded 19.712 larceny/theft offenses in 2019 and 19,9918 offenses in 2018. 

West Virginia Incarceration Rate

340 out of 100,000 individuals
According to the Department of Justice, the state of West Virginia incarcerates 340 out of 100,000 individuals in the general population, which is lower than the national average.
6,044 inmates.
Per the National Institute of Correction, in 2020, the state had a prison population of 6,044 inmates.
It also had 5,110 in jail, 3,882 out on parole, and 6,243 on probation.
West Virginia maintains ten jails across 55 countries, with roughly 4,100 employees.
The state operates with a budget of $216,88,100, resulting in approximately $32,400 per inmate.

West Virginia Bankruptcy Rate

1,393 bankruptcy filings

The American Bankruptcy Institute reported that West Virginia witnessed a cumulative number of 1,393 filings for bankruptcy. About one person out of every 1,000 individuals experiences bankruptcy. In 2022, the state recorded 1,393 bankruptcy filings, the lowest recorded in two decades. It included 1,141 Chapter 7 cases, 15 Chapter 11 cases, and 237 cases of Chapter 13. The state also recorded 44 business bankruptcy filings, including 26 cases of Chapter 4, 14 Chapter 11, and four Chapter 13 cases. According to the American Banking Institute, the number of bankruptcy cases filed (relative to population) between 2000 and 2022 was l0% lower than average compared to other states.  

Weird Laws in West Virginia

Below are some uncommon or antiquated laws that remain in effect in West Virginia:

  • Creating noisy sounds while submerged in water is not allowed. This legislation was implemented in the early 1900s to safeguard coal miners who had to toil in mines submerged with water.
  • Dozing off on a train is considered against the law. If an individual dozes off on a train and misses their planned stop, they could receive a penalty as per a regulation implemented in the late 1800s.
  • Using profanities or vulgar language in public is against the law. Although rarely enforced, a law in West Virginia labels the use of profanity in a public setting as a misdemeanor offense. Thus, individuals may face legal repercussions if found guilty of this behavior
  • The use of ferrets to hunt wild animals like rabbits or rodents is prohibited in West Virginia, just like in other states.

Cities in West Virginia

Table of contents

Cities in West Virginia