Population losses reported by US Census alarming

An editorial from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Tragic. How else can you describe the latest population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. While we anticipated a population loss in the region considering the thousands of coal mining jobs that have been lost over the last couple of years, we didn’t realize it would be this bad.

Taking the biggest hit was McDowell County, which for the first time in 116 years recorded a population of below 20,000.

Specifically, the 2015 population estimate for McDowell County was 19,835. That’s the lowest since 1900, when the county stood at almost 19,000. In 2010, the population of McDowell County was 22,075. That means 2,240 people left McDowell County over the last five years.

This isn’t surprising considering all of the coal mining jobs that have been lost in McDowell County. In fact, County Commission President Harold McBride says the coal industry is “almost a thing of the past” now for McDowell County.

The same can be said for most of southern West Virginia…

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