Not first, but second. If only it was good news.

But that’s definitely not the case.

Turns out West Virginia is near the top of the list when it comes to losing population.

Illinois is the only state that lost more residents, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Eight states lost population between July 2016 and July 2017.

Illinois lost 33,703 residents, while West Virginia’s population dropped by 12,780.

Others in this category include Wyoming (5,595), Louisiana (1,824), Alaska (1,727), Mississippi (1,315), Hawaii (1,145) and North Dakota (155).

Idaho in Nation's Fastest-Growing State[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

At that rate, it will be the first time in 30 years that so many states lost residents in a single year, officials say.

That previously happened between 1986 and 1987, when energy-producing states were hard hit by a collapse in oil prices.

This isn’t a first for the Mountain State.

It was among six states that also lost residents between 2015 and 2016.

Last year’s Census figures showed West Virginia had 1.831 million residents.

Economists say the number of state residents has often gone up and down along with the economy.

It topped out just over 2 million in 1950, but declines in the mining and manufacturing sectors have taken a toll.

West Virginia’s population dropped by about 261,000 people from 1950 to 1970.The changing economy was

especially hard on southern counties where coal jobs were lost as mines closed.


Bedroom communities, located near growth areas, continue to expand.

Eastern Panhandle counties (Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan) have benefited from proximity to Washington, D.C.

The new data also shows where people are moving nationally.

Idaho was the nation’s fastest-growing state with a population increase of 2.2 percent, followed by Nevada (2 percent), Utah (1.9 percent), Washington (1.7 percent), Florida and Arizona (each at 1.6 percent).