CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia lost more people in the year prior to July 2015 than any other state, according to new population numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.
As of July 1, 2014, there were 1,848,751 state residents compared with 1,844,128 on July 1, 2015, a decline of about .25 percent.
The counties that saw the largest drops in population were in Southern West Virginia: -2.2 percent in McDowell County, -1.7 in Wyoming County, -1.7 in Logan County, -1.5 in Boone County and -1.5 in Mingo County.
Roane County was not far behind at -1.2 with Tyler County showing a loss in population of -1.1 percent.
In all, 36 counties lost population.
The largest population increase in West Virginia, 1.4 percent, was recorded in Berkeley County. Both Jefferson County and Monongalia County recorded gains of 1.3 percent. They were among 13 counties that gained people.
Six counties showed neither population increases nor declines.
Kanawha County is still the most populated county in West Virginia, with 188,332 people as of July 1, 2015, U.S. Census numbers showed. That number, though, is down by one percent compared with Kanawha County’s population a year earlier.
The second most populated county is currently Berkeley County, followed by Monongalia County which both recorded population growth from 2014 to 2015.
West Virginia is one of seven states that saw population declines.
The biggest increase in population during the past year, 2.28 percent, was recorded in North Dakota.
Overall, U.S. Census data indicated U.S. population grew by .79 percent total.