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Ohio Valley Population Continues Downward Turn

WHEELING – The Upper Ohio Valley continues to lose residents, as the latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show 2,622 fewer residents as of July 1, 2019, when compared to the previous year.

The estimates, released today for counties across the nation, show all 10 counties that comprise the Upper Ohio Valley — Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, Brooke and Hancock in West Virginia and Belmont, Jefferson, Harrison and Monroe in Ohio — on a continuing trend in population decline that has now spanned multiple decades.

Ohio County, for example, now has an estimated 41,411 residents, down 294 from July 1, 2018, and down an estimated 3,015 residents from the 2010 Census.

In Ohio, Belmont County, with 67,006 residents, lost an estimated 527 people from July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019, and an estimated 3,394 residents from the 2010 Census, when the county last had more than 70,000 residents.

On a statewide basis, the county numbers show that Ohio gained an estimated 12,759 residents from July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019, while West Virginia lost an estimated 12,144 residents.

West Virginia saw only one county with any growth in the year-to-year estimates — Berkeley County, which saw its population rise from 117,236 to 119,171. Jefferson County essentially stayed even in the estimates, as did Monongalia County

Kanawha County, the state’s most populous, lost an estimated 2,286 residents, going from a population of 180,410 in 2018 to 178,124 in 2019.

The figures released today will be the last county-level estimates before the full 2020 Census release next year.

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