West Virginia had the largest population drop in the US from 2010 to 2020, the census shows

West Virginia
A lake in Bluefield, West Virginia.

  • West Virginia lost a higher percentage of its population than any other US state, per the census.
  • The lack of economic opportunity and low pay are two factors in the state’s population decline.
  • The poverty rate in West Virginia is 16%, higher than the national average.
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From 2010 to 2020, West Virginia lost a higher percentage of its population than any other US state, according to new data from the US Census Bureau.

In 2010, the population of the Mountain State stood at 1.85 million, but by 2020, that number had declined to 1.79 million people.

The population loss of 3.2%, or roughly 59,000 people, made the state one of only seven others across the country that are set to lose a congressional district following the 2020 Census.

According to the Associated Press, some of the main reasons cited for West Virginia’s population loss are a lack of economic opportunity, low pay, the state’s political climate, and poor cell phone and internet service.

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The poverty rate in West Virginia is 16%, which is higher than the national average.

In 2019, the national poverty rate was 10.5%, according to the Census Bureau.

The Census data revealed that from 2015 to 2019, only 76% of the state’s households had broadband internet subscriptions.

In an attempt to stem further population losses, West Virginia officials are targeting remote workers who move to the state with $12,000 incentives, along with complimentary passes for recreational destinations including whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and horseback riding.

The state hopes to capitalize on the appeal of its ruggedness and open spaces in reversing its population losses.

“We want to give folks the opportunity to escape big cities,” state tourism cabinet secretary Chelsea Ruby told the Associated Press last month. “In West Virginia, there are no crowded places, long commutes or traffic jams. There’s just plenty of places to put down roots and explore the great outdoors.”

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1 in 9 people in Puerto Rico left the territory in the last decade, new US Census data release shows

puerto rico
A man waves a national flag as protesters march through San Juan May 13, 2015.

  • The US Census Bureau released its first wave of 2020 Census data on Monday.
  • The newly released data show Puerto Rico lost a ninth of its population over the last decade.
  • Earthquakes and hurricanes crippled the territory’s infrastructure in recent years.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Puerto Rico lost a ninth of its total population between 2010 and 2020, according to the newly announced 2020 Census data.

The territory’s total population decreased 11.8% over the past decade, the largest drop of any state or territory counted in the Census. In total, about 440,000 fewer Puerto Ricans were counted in the Census in 2020 than in 2010.

Additional insights from the new Census data include:

  • West Virginia lost the greatest number of residents and decreased by 3.2%.
  • Utah gained 18.4% and was the state with the largest percent growth.
  • The total population of US and Puerto Rico combined grew 7.1%.

Destructive hurricanes rocked Puerto Rico in 2017, devastating the territory and causing a temporary shutdown of its entire power grid, more than 40,000 landslides, and close to 3,000 deaths. The territory also experienced a series of destructive hurricanes in 2019 and 2020, including 11 that were categorized as magnitude 5 earthquakes or higher.

The federal government’s response to the natural disasters in the territory took years to fully take effect after President Donald Trump withheld nearly $13 billion in aid until 46 days before the 2020 presidential election.

Read more: New York could have kept a House seat if just 89 more people had been counted in the 2020 census

The majority of Puerto Rican residents voted in favor of US statehood in a referendum included in the 2020 election season. The House narrowly voted to add Washington, DC, as a state on April 22 but has yet to vote on Puerto Rico statehood since the referendum.

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