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West Virginia Overview:
Located in the Appalachian region, in the southern United States, West Virginia is the 41st largest in the country. The capital and the largest city in the state is Charleston. West Virginia was established as a state after the Wheeling Conventions in 1861. This was after the American Civil War, and a group of unionists decided to break away from main Virginia even though many secessionists were included in the new state. West Virginia played an important role during the war as a border state and was inducted into the union on 20th June 1863.
West Virginia is often classified as a part of southern US by the Association of America Geographers whereas the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts in the Mid-Atlantic region. West Virginia is the only state that lies completely within the jurisdiction of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the area is often termed as Appalachia. The region is famous for its mountains, hill ranges, and its logging and coal mining industry. The state is also a popular tourist destination with a wide range of activities such as fishing, whitewater rafting, skiing, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, hunting, and rock climbing.
Demographics of West Virginia
West Virginia is the 38th most populous state in the country with an estimated population of 1.8 million. It is one of the few states in the country that doesn’t have a city with more than 100,000 residents. Charleston which is the largest city in the state and the capital has a population of about 49,736. Most of the counties in the state are designated as rural areas. About 51% of the state resides in the rural areas whereas 49% can be classified as urban. The counties with the highest population in the state are Kanawha and Berkeley with populations of 183,293 and 114,920 respectively.
The median age in the state is 41.9 years, and the ratio of male to female citizens in the state is 49.4% males and 50.6% females. The state has a pretty dominant Caucasian racial population comprising of 93.5% of the population. 3.4% are African Americans and 1.8% other races. Asian demography stands at 0.8% and other races at 0.3%. When religion is considered, around 78% of the state is involved in Christian-based faiths, 3% of the population practices non=Christian based religions and around 18% of the population is not affiliated with any kind of religion.
Tourism and economy in West Virginia
Tourism is a major industry in the state which contributed around $4.27 billion to the economy of the state. It employs around 440,000 people, and the state has fantastic locations for winter holidays and winter sports. Areas like the Canaan Valley and the Seneca Rocks are famous for rock climbing and other sporting activities along with the New River Gorge. The Monongahela National Forest is very popular with among hikers, backpackers, hunters, and anglers.
Apart from adventure sports, the region also has a lot of historical and cultural significance. The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is one of the historic towns located at the meeting point of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. It was the site of the slave revolt of 1859 which led to the raid of the US Armory and Arsenal.
The state also has the National Radio Astronomy Observatory which houses the Breen Bank Telescope. Coal happens to be the major contributor to the state’s economy, and the state is the top coal producer in the state right after Wyoming and accounts for 2% of the employment in the region. West Virginia is also located on the heart of the Shale Natural Gas Bed which stretches from Tennessee to New York.
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