Curtis Tate Published

Census: Most Of State’s Largest Cities Shrank From 2022 To 2023

A view of downtown Morgantown is taken from inside of the West Virginia University astronomical observatory. Streets can be seen stretching away into frame around squat brick buildings. In the top right of frame can be seen a hint of the Monongahela River with the Morgantown Marriot tower in front. A white brick building with "Hotel Morgan" lettering can be seen in the middle background. A wooded ridge rises in the background, with houses dotting the hillside that slopes into downtown visible in the left background.Chris Schulz/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Of the state’s 15 largest cities, only Morgantown and Bridgeport gained population from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, according to new U.S. Census data.

And those two cities did not post large gains. Bridgeport’s population increased about 1 percent to 9,377. Morgantown’s increased 0.3 percent to 30,429.

Charleston and Huntington, the state’s two largest cities, each lost nearly 1 percent of their population during those 12 months. Charleston fell below 47,000 residents, while Huntington stayed above 45,000.

Bluefield had the biggest decline – 1.3 percent – to 9,272 residents, ranking last among 15.

The state’s total population declined by 0.2 percent, or just under 4,000 residents.

Only one Appalachian city ranked among the 15 fastest growing nationwide. Athens, Ohio’s population increased 8.6 percent.