For the fifth consecutive year, Kanawha County topped WV in the number of people leaving a county, according to 2017 population estimates just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

West Virginia's population as a whole is on a steady decline, according to past Census numbers. If the trend continues, the Mountain State could lose one of its three congressional seats by 2022.

In 2017, a total of 45 counties had a population decline. Nine saw population increases, and one — Pleasants County — stayed exactly the same. Calhoun County has lost 32O people since 2010, down to 7,307.

McDowell County held the highest percentage of 2017 population decrease, with 3.5 percent — 683 individuals — leaving the county.

This percentage decrease was the fourth-highest in the nation, according to the Census, and leaves the county with a total population of 18,456 people.

The most eastern counties in the Eastern Panhandle held the top three highest percentages of population growth in the Mountain State. Berkeley saw a 1.5 percent increase, Jefferson, 0.9 percent, and Morgan, 0.6 percent. Monongalia County had less than 500 people move within its limits. In 2012, roughly 1,700 moved to that county. Last year, the population increase dipped below 1,000 for the first time, with 631 people moving in. This year, only 259 individuals moved to Monongalia.

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