MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County is now the third most populated county in West Virginia. U.S. Census numbers from 2013 were released Thursday showing the county jumped over Cabell County.
“Mon County’s been the fastest growing county in the state for the last three years,” Monongalia County Development Authority Director Don Reinke said. “It’s certainly good news but not that surprising.”
The census said the county now has 102,274 residents, up 1,747 between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013. Berkeley County added approximately 1,500 residents over the same period and is the state’s second most populated county at 108,706. Kanawha County continues to be the most populated at 191,275. The county did lose the most residents in the time period, 786. Cabell County’s population is now 97,000, the fourth highest in the state.
Reinke said he doesn’t see things slowing down in Morgantown and the surrounding area.
“I personally think we’re well-positioned to keep the ball rolling for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Some experts have said Morgantown is nearly recession-proof with 7,000 WVU workers and thousands of others who work for federal government operations in the area. Reinke said the county is also feeding off national rankings that continue to put Morgantown at the top of their lists. A recent ranking said Morgantown was one of the best places to retire.
“We relay that via our marketing message to quality employers, quality investors who are interested in our area,” he said.
Southern coalfield counties continued to show population losses while Doddridge County may be benefiting from Marcellus shale operations. The county showed a 1.7 percent growth rate by adding 136 residents.
Reinke said Monongalia County needs to stay vigilant in addressing the issues that come with rapid growth.
“Traffic and transportation are one of the key issues the community is looking at and needs to address in the years ahead,” he said.