(12/27/2012)
By Bob Weaver

Calhoun has among the highest aging populations.

Calhoun (2010 census 7,627) is among a dozen West Virginia counties with the largest population of citizens over the age of 65.

The 2010 census says 18.2% of Calhouners are over 65, the highest number among the regional counties.

OVER 65: Wirt, 15.6%; Roane, 17.2%; Gilmer, 13.7%; Clay, 15.7%; Braxton, 17.5%; Ritchie,17.2%.

The aging population is one of the reasons the county's tax base is stagnant, with Homestead Exemption providing a major tax break on property for seniors, which directly affects the county's budget to provide services.

The 2010 census says the county's median age is 45.1 years, the highest in the regional counties.

MEDIAN AGE 2010: Wirt, 44.4; Roane, 43.5; Gilmer, 38; Clay, 41.5; Braxton, 43.8; Ritchie, 44.3.

The birth rate in the county per 1000 deaths between 2002-2008 was 874, indicating more people are dying in the county than being born.

In the six regional counties, only Clay showed more births than deaths at 1,133 during the time frame.

BIRTH RATE PER 1000 DEATHS (2004-08): Wirt, 960; Roane, 932; Gilmer, 781; Clay, 1,133; Braxton, 879; Ritchie, 906.

The 2010 census says Gilmer County of the regional counties had the smallest number of citizens under the age of 17 at 14.5%.

PERCENT 17 AND UNDER: Wirt, 21%; Roane, 21.7%; Gilmer, 14.5%; Clay, 23.6%; Braxton, 20.7%; Ritchie, 21.1%.

The 2010 census says the county had a gain of 138 people from out-of-state migration between 2004-2008.

Many counties in West Virginia have more deaths than births, and more people moving out than moving in.

The trend shows significant increases with a graying population.


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