Fastest-growing counties in West Virginia

Written by:
July 1, 2022
Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

Fastest-growing counties in West Virginia

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in West Virginia. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in West Virginia using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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#50. Mingo County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -3,271
--- #2,997 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -12.2%
--- #46 among counties in West Virginia, #2,965 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 23,568
--- #26 largest county in West Virginia, #1,651 largest county nationwide
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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Harrison County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -3,178
--- #2,990 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.6%
--- #19 among counties in West Virginia, #2,261 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 65,921
--- #7 largest county in West Virginia, #813 largest county nationwide
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Coal town guy // Wikimedia Commons

#48. McDowell County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -3,002
--- #2,974 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -13.6%
--- #48 among counties in West Virginia, #3,011 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 19,111
--- #32 largest county in West Virginia, #1,866 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Boone County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,820
--- #2,963 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -11.4%
--- #44 among counties in West Virginia, #2,944 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 21,809
--- #29 largest county in West Virginia, #1,723 largest county nationwide
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#46. Wood County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,660
--- #2,943 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.1%
--- #14 among counties in West Virginia, #2,006 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 84,296
--- #5 largest county in West Virginia, #682 largest county nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Mercer County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,600
--- #2,932 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.2%
--- #16 among counties in West Virginia, #2,192 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 59,664
--- #8 largest county in West Virginia, #877 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Marshall County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,516
--- #2,918 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -7.6%
--- #34 among counties in West Virginia, #2,681 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 30,591
--- #18 largest county in West Virginia, #1,419 largest county nationwide
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Taber Andrew Bain // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Greenbrier County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,503
--- #2,916 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -7.1%
--- #33 among counties in West Virginia, #2,624 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 32,977
--- #16 largest county in West Virginia, #1,363 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Wyoming County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,414
--- #2,908 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -10.1%
--- #42 among counties in West Virginia, #2,875 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 21,382
--- #30 largest county in West Virginia, #1,746 largest county nationwide
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OZinOH // Flickr

#41. Wetzel County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,141
--- #2,861 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -12.9%
--- #47 among counties in West Virginia, #2,993 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 14,442
--- #37 largest county in West Virginia, #2,122 largest county nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Braxton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,076
--- #2,850 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -14.3%
--- #51 among counties in West Virginia, #3,036 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 12,447
--- #40 largest county in West Virginia, #2,247 largest county nationwide
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Brandon W. Holmes // Wikicommons

#39. Ohio County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,018
--- #2,840 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.5%
--- #18 among counties in West Virginia, #2,250 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 42,425
--- #12 largest county in West Virginia, #1,136 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Ritchie County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,005
--- #2,835 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -19.2%
--- #54 among counties in West Virginia, #3,112 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,444
--- #44 largest county in West Virginia, #2,539 largest county nationwide
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Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Cabell County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,969
--- #2,829 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.0%
--- #12 among counties in West Virginia, #1,864 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 94,350
--- #4 largest county in West Virginia, #637 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Summers County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,968
--- #2,827 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -14.1%
--- #49 among counties in West Virginia, #3,029 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 11,959
--- #42 largest county in West Virginia, #2,285 largest county nationwide

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Bitmapped // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Mason County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,871
--- #2,808 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -6.8%
--- #32 among counties in West Virginia, #2,592 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,453
--- #23 largest county in West Virginia, #1,581 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Nicholas County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,629
--- #2,742 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -6.2%
--- #28 among counties in West Virginia, #2,502 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 24,604
--- #24 largest county in West Virginia, #1,623 largest county nationwide
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Generic1139 // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Hancock County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,581
--- #2,730 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.2%
--- #23 among counties in West Virginia, #2,351 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 29,095
--- #19 largest county in West Virginia, #1,452 largest county nationwide
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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Pendleton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,552
--- #2,720 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -20.2%
--- #55 among counties in West Virginia, #3,119 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 6,143
--- #54 largest county in West Virginia, #2,726 largest county nationwide
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Jimmy Emerson, DVM // Flickr

#31. Brooke County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,510
--- #2,708 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -6.3%
--- #29 among counties in West Virginia, #2,512 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 22,559
--- #28 largest county in West Virginia, #1,693 largest county nationwide

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Randolph County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,473
--- #2,699 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.0%
--- #22 among counties in West Virginia, #2,331 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 27,932
--- #20 largest county in West Virginia, #1,503 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Jackson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,420
--- #2,686 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.9%
--- #21 among counties in West Virginia, #2,304 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 27,791
--- #21 largest county in West Virginia, #1,505 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Calhoun County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,398
--- #2,679 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -18.3%
--- #53 among counties in West Virginia, #3,108 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 6,229
--- #53 largest county in West Virginia, #2,719 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Clay County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,335
--- #2,657 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -14.2%
--- #50 among counties in West Virginia, #3,032 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,051
--- #47 largest county in West Virginia, #2,573 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Gilmer County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,285
--- #2,639 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -14.8%
--- #52 among counties in West Virginia, #3,046 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 7,408
--- #51 largest county in West Virginia, #2,628 largest county nationwide

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Generic1139 // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Mineral County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,274
--- #2,636 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.5%
--- #17 among counties in West Virginia, #2,245 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 26,938
--- #22 largest county in West Virginia, #1,527 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Lincoln County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,257
--- #2,624 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.8%
--- #26 among counties in West Virginia, #2,439 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 20,463
--- #31 largest county in West Virginia, #1,793 largest county nationwide
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Bitmapped // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Monroe County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,126
--- #2,572 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -8.3%
--- #37 among counties in West Virginia, #2,737 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 12,376
--- #41 largest county in West Virginia, #2,250 largest county nationwide
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Valerius Tygart // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Barbour County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,124
--- #2,571 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -6.8%
--- #31 among counties in West Virginia, #2,584 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 15,465
--- #36 largest county in West Virginia, #2,063 largest county nationwide
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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Grant County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -961
--- #2,475 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -8.1%
--- #35 among counties in West Virginia, #2,716 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 10,976
--- #43 largest county in West Virginia, #2,343 largest county nationwide

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Richie Diesterheft from Chicago, IL, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Roane County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -898
--- #2,438 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -6.0%
--- #27 among counties in West Virginia, #2,467 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 14,028
--- #39 largest county in West Virginia, #2,154 largest county nationwide
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Jimmy Emerson, DVM // Flickr

#19. Tyler County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -895
--- #2,435 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -9.7%
--- #40 among counties in West Virginia, #2,841 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,313
--- #46 largest county in West Virginia, #2,555 largest county nationwide
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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Hampshire County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -871
--- #2,420 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.6%
--- #15 among counties in West Virginia, #2,102 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 23,093
--- #27 largest county in West Virginia, #1,672 largest county nationwide
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jpmueller99 from Shenandoah Valley of VA, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Pocahontas County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -850
--- #2,411 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -9.7%
--- #41 among counties in West Virginia, #2,843 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 7,869
--- #48 largest county in West Virginia, #2,586 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Webster County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -776
--- #2,374 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -8.5%
--- #38 among counties in West Virginia, #2,749 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,378
--- #45 largest county in West Virginia, #2,546 largest county nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Wirt County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -523
--- #2,167 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -9.1%
--- #39 among counties in West Virginia, #2,806 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,194
--- #55 largest county in West Virginia, #2,810 largest county nationwide
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Pubdog // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Morgan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -478
--- #2,124 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.7%
--- #13 among counties in West Virginia, #1,961 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 17,063
--- #33 largest county in West Virginia, #1,967 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Upshur County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -438
--- #2,090 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.8%
--- #11 among counties in West Virginia, #1,808 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 23,816
--- #25 largest county in West Virginia, #1,646 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Doddridge County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -394
--- #2,033 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.8%
--- #20 among counties in West Virginia, #2,293 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 7,808
--- #49 largest county in West Virginia, #2,590 largest county nationwide
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#11. Tucker County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -379
--- #2,011 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.3%
--- #24 among counties in West Virginia, #2,368 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 6,762
--- #52 largest county in West Virginia, #2,677 largest county nationwide

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Marion County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -213
--- #1,794 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.4%
--- #9 among counties in West Virginia, #1,556 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 56,205
--- #11 largest county in West Virginia, #918 largest county nationwide
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Taylor County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -190
--- #1,755 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.1%
--- #10 among counties in West Virginia, #1,673 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 16,705
--- #35 largest county in West Virginia, #1,991 largest county nationwide
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#8. Pleasants County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +48
--- #1,433 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.6%
--- #8 among counties in West Virginia, #1,391 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 7,653
--- #50 largest county in West Virginia, #2,604 largest county nationwide
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Antony-22 // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Hardy County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +274
--- #1,276 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.0%
--- #7 among counties in West Virginia, #1,192 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 14,299
--- #38 largest county in West Virginia, #2,127 largest county nationwide
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Lewis County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +661
--- #1,103 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.0%
--- #4 among counties in West Virginia, #921 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 17,033
--- #34 largest county in West Virginia, #1,969 largest county nationwide

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Preston County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +696
--- #1,092 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.1%
--- #6 among counties in West Virginia, #1,169 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 34,216
--- #15 largest county in West Virginia, #1,321 largest county nationwide
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Roger B Wise // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Putnam County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,954
--- #824 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.5%
--- #5 among counties in West Virginia, #987 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 57,440
--- #10 largest county in West Virginia, #907 largest county nationwide
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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Jefferson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,203
--- #612 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.9%
--- #3 among counties in West Virginia, #575 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 57,701
--- #9 largest county in West Virginia, #903 largest county nationwide
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Zverzver // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Monongalia County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +9,633
--- #436 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.0%
--- #2 among counties in West Virginia, #416 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 105,822
--- #3 largest county in West Virginia, #579 largest county nationwide
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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Berkeley County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +17,907
--- #312 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +17.2%
--- #1 among counties in West Virginia, #161 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 122,076
--- #2 largest county in West Virginia, #519 largest county nationwide

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