Overall, West Virginia continues to see a decline in population since 2012. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that, while the state's population grew from 2010 (1,854,176) to 2012 (1,856,313) the state has seen a drop-off in consecutive years since--with the last estimate from July 1, 2014 putting West Virginia's population at 1,850,326.
Last week, The Charleston Gazette reported that West Virginia is losing population faster than any other state, with about 3,300 total residents lost from July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2014. That translates to about 0.2 percent total population loss in just the one year. Those numbers are ahead of the only other states that saw population loss, based on 2013 to 2014 records: Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico and Vermont.
From 2010 to 2014, 39 of the state's counties lost residents, while 16 showed an increase. Southern West Virginia continues to see sharp population decline, while the Eastern Panhandle and Monongalia County have seen a boom in recent years. However, the increase of natural gas production in the north central and Northern Panhandle regions hasn't kept some of those counties from seeing a decline in population in recent years.