10 Pros and Cons of Living in West Virginia Right Now

Good Things To Know Before Moving To West Virginia

Today we are going to talk about the pros and cons of living in West Virginia. And you are going to find it is one of those states where there is little common ground.

Since some residents. Dwell on the benefits of living in West Virginia.

While others can rattle off 10 disadvantages of living in West Virginia. Without hesitation.

So, how about we get to the bottom of this. And cover the facts.

Specifically, the top living in West Virginia pros and cons. Let’s get moving…

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Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pros And Cons Of Living In West Virginia

Here’s my top 10 list of moving to West Virginia pros and cons:

  • Low cost of living
  • Relaxed small cities and towns
  • Abundant outdoor activities
  • Weather marked by all 4 seasons
  • Proximity to larger cities
  • Lack of economic growth and jobs
  • Poor quality government services
  • High crime rates
  • Significant drug abuse
  • Limited diversity

We will go through each of these points about the West Virginia quality of life in a moment.

But first, I want to address a very important question. That I’m guessing is on your mind…

Is West Virginia A Good Place To Live?

As I mentioned in the introduction. There are widely varying viewpoints. About life in West Virginia.

Here is what I mean…

Reasons To Move To West Virginia

First of all, the median home value is one of the lowest in the country. Allowing you to get more for your money in this state.

Furthermore, the area offers small-town living. With a relaxed pace. Removed from the stress and hustle of big cities.

But, access to regional metropolitan areas. And all they have to offer. Are a reasonable driving distance away.

Finally, this state has immense natural beauty.

With access to uncrowded, scenic places in the countryside, and vast mountain ranges.

All of which are enhanced by pleasant weather patterns. Marked clearly by the four seasons.

But like any state. West Virginia life has its drawbacks.

And living here will not be for everyone.

Here’s why…

Reasons Not To Move To West Virginia

Most noteworthy, many of the state’s negatives. Revolve around its dismal economy.

Since the state’s top industries are just a glimmer of their past glory days. Also, the unemployment rate is high.

Thus, government services are underfunded.

Which means poor-quality schools. Bad roads. And fewer health care options.

And these factors lead to higher rates of poverty, crime, and drug abuse.

Finally, while residents tend to be friendly.

Not everyone or every place. Will welcome outsiders with open arms.

What does it all mean?

Younger people leave. For a better life elsewhere.

While higher-paid working professionals. Are not attracted to the state.

Thus, the population here has been shrinking. And little in the way of new ideas or diversity are created.

These things add up. And make it hard for many people to live here.

Okay. With those highlights taken care of.

It’s time to step through each of the pros and cons of living in West Virginia.

Turning to a more positive note. Let’s start with one of the best things about West Virginia…

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Low Cost Of Living

The average cost of living in West Virginia is very low. Versus other inexpensive areas in the country.

According to BestPlaces.net, all of the big-spending categories. Are lower than the national average.

And home prices are especially affordable. Where the median home value. Is nearly 60% less than the rest of the country as a whole.

Rental apartments are available too. But less so than other states. Due to the sparseness of the population.

But, if you find an apartment that fits your needs. Chances are you will see rents 25% less. Versus other areas of the country. Even more in some cases.

Furthermore, groceries, utilities, and transportation are anywhere between 5-10% lower.

Thus, you can save money living here. But know that costs will vary with location.

Depending on where you choose to live. So, do your homework before settling down.

Since some areas in and around Charleston, Morgantown, and Fairmont. Tend to have above-average costs. Versus the state as a whole.

But, all in all. This is an inexpensive state to live in.

Next, another one of the good things about West Virginia. As it relates to your budget. And keeping a lid on the West Virginia cost of living…

Property Taxes

You will find that property taxes are very low here.

It results from the combination of low property values.  And a low real estate tax rate applied to those values.

The combination means your property tax bill will be one of the lowest you can find. Compared to other states in the country.

And if you are interested in stretching your dollars a little farther. Consider these tips…

Saving More Money Living In West Virginia

Get the best rates for your apartment lease. Or, your mortgage on that new home. By maintaining a high credit score.

You can check yours for FREE. Using Credit Karma.

Then use any tips they offer. To make it better.

Next, get the best deal on a mortgage for your home. And save time.

To do so, use Lending Tree. And access some of the best mortgage rates you can find online.

Also, earn get cashback on all of your online purchases. By signing up for the Rakuten cash rebate app.

You can save money at the grocery store too. It’s easy with the cashback app from Ibotta.

Last but not least. Get a handle on your finances. Before, during, and after your move.

Whether you are putting together your monthly budget. Or, pulling all of your banking and finances together in one place.

You can do these tasks using the FREE online tool from Personal Capital.

Because Personal Capital saves time. And makes managing your money less of a chore.

Best of all? These tips and tools work anywhere you choose to live!

Next up. I have another one of the reasons to live in West Virginia. For those looking for a laid-back, stress-free lifestyle.

And who isn’t?

Relaxed Small Cities And Towns

Because you are going to find small-town and small-city living in this state.

So, there won’t be any big city traffic jams. To worry about.

And you can drive in just minutes. From the largest metropolitan areas in the state.

And find plenty of uncrowded spaces here. With the presence of mountains in the backdrop.

And if you like living where there aren’t crowds. Or, a lot of people.

You will enjoy finding your place to live in West Virginia.

Good Places For Living In West Virginia

Here are a few things and places to consider…

Charleston, the state capital, is the largest city. With a population of about 50,000 people.

Then there is Morgantown. Of similar size as Charleston. And home to West Virginia University.

While Huntington, with a population of about 30,000. Is home to Marshall University. A top-tier public institution of higher education.

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Or how about Summersville? Where the Music in the Mountains festival is held each year.

Paying tribute to Bluegrass music. A big part of West Virginia’s creative scene and culture.

Some other good towns to consider for your West Virginia home include:

  • Fayetteville
  • Shepherdstown
  • Lewisburg
  • Harpers Ferry

And what you are going to find is this…

Sense Of Community Living In West Virginia

The entire state has a very small-town feel about it. Residents are friendly here. And know each other by name.

So, bumping into a friend or neighbor at the grocery store. Is an everyday occurrence.

Making it a place to quickly feel part of a community.  Almost anywhere in the state, you choose to live.

Next up, of all the advantages of living in West Virginia. This is probably my favorite…

Abundant Outdoor Activities

Specifically, it is a great state for outdoor types of people.

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Because West Virginia is a state full of natural beauty. And inspiring landscapes.

First of all, you will always have the mountains nearby. No wonder the state is nicknamed, “The Mountain State”.

Since the entire area sits in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.

And nearly 75% of the land is forested. Making it one of the most densely forested states in the country.

For The Outdoor Enthusiast Living In West Virginia

So, if you love to go hiking and camping. There are plenty of excellent trails and spaces.

Including the well-known Appalachian Trail. That passes through Harpers Ferry. Headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Furthermore, you will find many fine sites to pitch your tent. And view the night sky.

And the state is great for hunting and fishing too.

Finally, you will find some of the best white water rapids in the country.

So tune up your kayak or paddleboat. And get ready to hit the white water as you head downstream.

Then be sure to get out to Blackwater Falls State Park.

And see colorful hills that stretch to the horizon. As you explore the many wonders that Appalachia offers.

Other Places To Explore When Living In West Virginia

And as time permits. Be sure to take in some of these special outdoor places. That West Virginia has to offer:

  • New River Gorge Bridge
  • Lost World Caverns
  • Dolly Sods Wilderness Area
  • Birthplace of Rivers
  • Berkeley Springs

And what makes all of these outdoor adventures possible?  It is another one of the cool things about West Virginia…

Weather Marked By All 4 Seasons

If enjoying all four seasons of weather are important to you. Then this state will not disappoint you.

First of all, the fall season may be the best time of year. As the summer temperatures cool.

And the changing leaves put on a display. That arguably is second to none. Making autumn amazing.

Next, it is plenty cold here in the winter. And there is a fair amount of snow accumulation. Especially higher up in the mountains.

To make for a white Christmas. During many of the holiday seasons.

Then, when the spring temperatures warm. There is plenty of rain.

Making for a lush landscape. And bringing many of the trees to their most beautiful state. When their flowers are in full bloom.

Finally, summer arrives with both warmth and humidity. Especially in the lower elevations.

While in the mountains. The summer climate is quite comfortable.

Next, here is another one of the perks of living in West Virginia…

Proximity To Larger Cities

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Just because you enjoy small-town West Virginia living. It doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself from larger cities.

First of all, good interstate highways provide convenient access. To the larger cities in the state.

Furthermore, to easily access Pittsburg. Consider a town in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. And you will be within an hour’s drive.

On the other hand, if Washington D.C. or Baltimore are your go-to places. Then take up residence in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.

For a reasonable commute into the metropolitan areas of Maryland state. And the nation’s capital.

But regardless of where you choose to settle down. You will likely be within a few hours. Or, half days drive to reach Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., or Charlotte, NC.

If you choose to…

Head to the state of Ohio.

Also known as the Buckey State…

Where you can visit Cleveland. Located on the banks of Lake Erie.

It is a city full of energy and culture. Far removed from its rust belt roots.

Or, check out Columbus.

It is the 15th most populous city in the United States. And home to one of the top 5 largest universities in the country: The Ohio State University.

And finally, stay in the city of Cincinnati. Sort of a hidden gem in the midwest, in my opinion.

Okay. That concludes the 5 benefits of moving to West Virginia.

But an article about the pros and cons of living in West Virginia. Would not be complete.

Without addressing the bad things about living in West Virginia too.

So, let’s keep moving…

Lack Of Economic Growth And Jobs

Where I have an assessment of the economy. And the job market next.

West Virginia’s Economy

According to U.S. News, West Virginia is ranked near the bottom. For one of the poorest economies in the United States.

First of all, the study focused on the business environment, employment, and growth. Although the current unemployment rate is not far from the national average.

Furthermore, the state still produces most of the coal used in the United States. But, that is an industry in rapid decline.

Finally, other sectors are trying to pick up the slack. They include aerospace, healthcare, chemicals, and alternative energy.

Jobs When Living In West Virginia

But understand, in most of the state. You will find fewer high-paying professional opportunities within the job market.

This is one of the big reasons not to live in West Virginia. And why many young people leave the state.

Leading to a shrinking population. And a limited influx of new residents. With the ideas and energy to improve the situation.

It is clear. These are not signs of economic prosperity.

On the other hand, there are some ways to make ends meet here. And it’s good to consider them.

Since the cost of living in West Virginia is so reasonable. As I discussed earlier in the pros and cons of West Virginia.

Here’s how…

Financial Tips For Living In West Virginia

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First of all, you can find areas where access to jobs is less of an issue.

For example, some residents live in the eastern panhandle. Then commute to the Washington D.C. area for employment.

While still others take up residence in the northern panhandle. And have a commute taking them in or around Pittsburg.

Because the employment opportunities are better. In these metropolitan areas.

So, that’s one strategy for finding work. To support your West Virginia lifestyle.

Here is another…

Consider retiring in West Virginia. After you have your retirement finances in place.

To take advantage of the low cost of living. And stretch your retirement income a little farther.

Finally, you can move to West Virginia. And live wherever you want.

As long as you secure adequate employment in advance. Where the trend toward remote work. May help in this regard.

Unfortunately, since the economy is in decline. This leads me to another one of the negatives of living in West Virginia.

Poverty Rates

According to Wikipedia, the state has one of the highest poverty rates in the country. At more than 15% of the population.

And some of the areas in the state are much worse.

For example, Monongalia County, in the northeastern part of the state. Has seen poverty rates over 25%.

Think about that. 1 out of every 4 families in that area is living below the poverty line.

It is a very sad situation.

Next, we have some more of the worst things about West Virginia. And, in my opinion, they also stem from the lackluster economy.

Poor Quality Government Services

Since an underperforming economy. And a shrinking population.

Mean a lower income and sales tax base. To fund government services.

And with fewer people having money to spend. It limits private investment too.

Here are a couple of examples…

Low-Quality Educational System

Studies show that the state has a poor educational system. Resulting in sub-par academic performance.

So, if you are raising a family. Finding a good school district. Might be as tough as finding a high-paying job.

You can locate some good schools. But do your homework before settling down. If educating a family is important to you.

On the other hand, if you can get your kids through a decent high school. Get them into West Virginia University.

A good state school. Offering a relative bargain when it comes to in-state tuition.

Just keep an eye on them. It’s considered a big party school!

Poor Road Conditions

While the major interstate highways are fine.

According to Consumer Affairs. The state roads. And lesser-traveled backroads. Are in fairly poor condition.

First of all, there are safety concerns. Since these secondary roads often lack guardrails, good signage, and striping.

Furthermore, there is little routine maintenance performed following bad weather.

Finally, potholes are a problem in this state. And even when they get patched, the work is not high-quality.

So, be careful when driving. Watch the road. Not the beautiful scenery.

And add this next one. To the cons of living in West Virginia…

Lack Of Health Care Services

Because the state ranks poorly in terms of health care services.

For example, a study done by WalletHub ranked West Virginia near the bottom. Versus other states in the country.

Specifically, for health care costs, access and outcomes.

It’s nothing like the great health care options in Virginia. The state’s neighbor to the west.

But then again, Virginia is a more expensive state to live in. And that is a big tradeoff when considering Virginia vs West Virginia living.

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So, for anyone considering the pros and cons of retiring in West Virginia. Do your homework on health care service providers. When determining where to live.

Since lack of access to health care. Might be one of the reasons not to move to West Virginia.

For retirees. Getting a little older. As life moves on.

Ready for another one of the downsides to West Virginia living?

Here it is…

High Crime Rates

The state has higher crime rates. They are greater than most law-abiding citizens would prefer.

This is true for both property crimes. And violent crimes.

Yes. There are safe places to live in West Virginia.

According to Safewise.com, 5 towns with lower crime rates include:

  • New Martinsville
  • Oak Hill
  • Weston
  • Weirton
  • Charles Town

So for your safety. And the peace of mind that comes with it.

This is another area where you will need to do your homework.

Also, have good property and automobile insurance in place. Before moving to West Virginia.

Next, I have another one of the dangers of living in West Virginia…

Significant Drug Abuse

If you or a family member are prone to addictions. Or you have kids during their formative years.

Know that the state has high rates of illegal drug use, drug addiction, and overdose rates.

Certain areas are particularly hard-hit by heroin, methamphetamine, and opioids.

Next, depending on where you are from, who you are, and what you believe. It may lead to another one of the detriments of living in West Virginia.

Limited Diversity

Since the state has limited ethnic and cultural diversity.

First of all, more than 90% of the population is white.

Furthermore, the median age in the state. Is one of the highest in the country. Along with having one the largest percentages of people 65 or older.

So, if you are white and planning on retirement living in West Virginia. You may fit in okay.

On the other hand, people of color or international backgrounds. May feel out of place.

Even those who move to West Virginia. And are within the majority demographic.

Will sometimes say they have had a hard time being accepted into their community. Always feeling like an outsider. In the eyes of native West Virginians.

Finally, with a shrinking population. The demographics and diversity levels aren’t going to change anytime soon.

Okay. That concludes the disadvantages of living in West Virginia. And that’s all I have for today.

Let’s wrap it up…

Pros and Cons Of Living In West Virginia

In summary, here are my top 10 living in West Virginia pros and cons:

  • Low cost of living
  • Relaxed small cities and towns
  • Abundant outdoor activities
  • Weather marked by all 4 seasons
  • Proximity to larger cities
  • Lack of economic growth and jobs
  • Poor quality government services
  • High crime rates
  • Significant drug abuse
  • Limited diversity

Hopefully, this information has helped you with some important questions. Such as…

1) Why should I move to West Virginia?


2) Is West Virginia a good place to live?

Furthermore, don’t let the bad things about West Virginia scare you away. Just do your homework.

Because you never know. West Virginia might be your best place to live!

Regardless, good luck with your decision. No matter what you decide.

More Reading About Living In West Virginia And Beyond

Make The Most Of Your Money Living In West Virginia (or anywhere)

Throughout the article, I suggested some tools. To make ends meet. And stretch your dollars a little further.

In West Virginia, or anywhere for that matter. So, I have summarized them here for your convenience:

conclusions about moving to "The Mountain State"Pin

Author Bio, Disclosure, & Disclaimer: Please join me (Tom) as I try to achieve my goals, find my next place to live, and make the most of my money. However, I am not a licensed investment adviser, financial counselor, real estate agent, or tax professional. Instead, I’m a 50-something-year-old, early retired CPA, finance professional, and business school teacher with 40+ years of DIY dividend investing experience. I’m here only to share my thoughts about essential topics for success. As a result, nothing published on this site should be considered individual investment, financial, tax, or real estate advice. This site’s only purpose is general information & entertainment. Thus, neither I nor Dividends Diversify can be held liable for losses suffered by any party because of the information published on this website. Finally, all written content is the property of Dividends Diversify LLC. Unauthorized publication elsewhere is strictly prohibited.

The Pros And Cons Of Living In West Virginia Explained