CHARLESTON — West Virginia is one of eight states losing population, according to recent data released by the Census Bureau.
Numbers released from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017 showed Idaho was the nation's fastest growing state in the last year with its population increasing 2.2 percent.
Following Idaho's lead in largest percentage of growth are: Nevada, at 2.0 percent; Utah, at 1.9 percent; Washington, at 1.7 percent, and Florida and Arizona tied at 1.6 percent.
"Domestic migration drove change in the two fastest-growing states, Idaho and Nevada, while an excess of births over deaths played a major part in the growth of the third fastest-growing state, Utah," Luke Rogers, chief of the Population Estimates Branch, said in a news release.
Joining West Virginia in losing population from July 2016 to July 2017 were seven other states, Illinois, Wyoming, North Dakota, Mississippi, Louisiana, Hawaii and Alaska.
Illinois had the largest numeric decline, losing 33,703 people, a -0.3 percent change. However, the release noted this is a small percentage change compared to its population of 12.8 million. Wyoming had the largest percentage decline, at 1.0 percent.
West Virginia ranked second worst in both numeric decline and percentage decline, according to the data. West Virginia lost 12,780 people, representing a -0.7 percent population change. Deaths also outpaced births in the Mountain State. According to the data, there were 22,227 deaths in the time period and 19,098 births.
States surrounding West Virginia experienced population growth. Pennsylvania, which was one of the states that had lost population in the previous year, grew 0.1 percent; Ohio grew by 0.3 percent; Kentucky, by 0.4 percent; Maryland by 0.5 percent; and Virginia by 0.7 percent.
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