By Bob Weaver

West Virginia’s population fell 3.2% over the past decade, the largest population loser in the USA.

Calhoun and 46 other WV counties have seen a decline with the 2020 census, the official county number not yet available.

Census figures released Thursday show West Virginia lost a higher percentage of its residents than any other U.S. state.

The state has lost about 60,000 residents in the past decade.

Critics say the decline has continued with the fall of coal and extractive industries, while state government has failed to move toward new 21st Century energy opportunities and jobs.

The legislature, while for the first time is passing a few measures toward new technology and jobs, they still persist in passing bills that attempt to prop up the former job creators.

This legislative position has held true for about about 125 years, generally electing coal baron governors and legislators.

West Virginia still ranks near the bottom is real broadband access, and generally makes the "worst" lists of most national surveys.

It’s one of seven states to lose a congressional seat after the 2020 census.

The biggest drop was in Pendleton County. The county lost 20.2% of its residents.

Kanawha remains the most populous, despite losing 6.4% of its residents.

Cabell County fell from being the third-largest county to the fourth in the state.

Berkeley County in the Eastern Panhandle gained by far the most and is now the state’s second-largest county.

Putnam County is also on the rise with an increase of 3.5%.

For the past two decades, deaths in the state are outpacing births.

To try to stop population loss, state officials encouraged remote workers to move to West Virginia through a program that will pay them $12,000 in cash along with a year’s worth of outdoor activities.

Still, the Mountain State, 90% forested, is among the safest and low cost of living places, most areas with low taxes.

It rises to the top as a place to live.