WASHINGTON, D.C. (WOWK/AP) – The U.S. Census Bureau released data from the 2020 Census Monday, April 26, which showed West Virginia had the largest population drop of any state in the country with a 3.2% decrease.
While the Mountain State saw a population decrease, the data showed a nationwide growth of 7.4%, which the Bureau says is down from the 9.7% reported in the 2010 Census and the second slowest growth rate in U.S. history. The total population in the U.S. based on the 2020 Census is 331,449,281.
The counts from the Census are used for apportionment, which determines how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. With the overall population growth, the average population per U.S. Representative is now 761,169, up from the 710,767 per representative in the 2010 Census.
West Virginia’s continuing population decline will cost the Mountain State one of its three seats in the U.S. House, according to the 2020 census. This is the first time since 1990, West Virginia has lost a seat. Ohio will also be losing a congressional seat due to slow population growth, dropping from its current 16 seats to 15, marking the sixth straight decade of the Buckeye State losing seats.
In the other states surrounding West Virginia, the data shows Pennsylvania will also lose one seat while Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland remain the same.
Other states that had a population decline are Illinois and Mississippi. While WV was the state with the largest population drop, the Census also showed an 11.8% decrease in U.S. territory, Puerto Rico..
Opposite West Virginia, the state with the highest population increase was Utah with an increase of 18.4%