Population decline in West Virginia affects businesses

OAK HILL (WOAY)- A recent study separated West Virginia and Michigan from the rest of the country, but in this case that’s not a good thing.

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent, nonprofit organization, West Virginia has lost roughly 18,000 residents in the last 10 years. The Mountain State and Michigan are the only two states in the country to have a population decline in the last decade. One reason could be lack of jobs; at least that’s what Barbara Halstenberg says. She owns the Bessie’s Floral Designs in Oak Hill, and for her- fewer jobs and less people equal less business.

“It’s all about the jobs and the money,” Halstenberg said. ‘I mean people have to have money to live and there is nothing here to keep people here. There’s no retail business in Oak Hill and there’s empty storefronts, evidently because there’s no one here with money.”

McDowell County had the fourth highest decrease of any county in America last year, losing 3.5 percent of its residents.