West Virginia’s Cities Can’t Waste This Unique Opportunity
10 May 2023
When one thinks of West Virginia, many things are likely to come to mind: natural beauty, John Denver, coal, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, poverty, opioids, state pride, and so on. What isn’t likely to make a top 10 list is cities, or perhaps more accurately, towns. West Virginia is the third most rural state in the country, with over half of its population residing in rural areas (just behind Vermont and Maine). West Virginia’s largest city, Charleston, is the second smallest such city in the United States. It is only larger than Vermont’s largest city, Burlington, by less than 4,000 residents, according the 2021 Census estimates. And — to drive the point home even further — West Virginia is also the third most forested state in the country. Nearly 80% of its land mass is covered in trees.