Are you the type of person who is interested in living in a place where there are mountains and nature everywhere? If that’s the case, then moving to West Virginia may be ideal for you! The Mountain State is one of the cheapest places to live in America and it is also near some of the major states in the Mid-Atlantic/New England regions.
- Harpers ferry, west virginia.min.jpg
- Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.min.jpg
- Charleston, West Virginia.min.jpg
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- West Virginia is home to a little less than 1.8 million people – and it is also home to some of the most beautiful mountains in the country!
- Aerial view of Harpers Ferry in West Virginia
West Virginia is especially popular among elderly people who look forward to moving to a quiet and friendly place after they retire. However, the Mountain State is currently ranked at #47 among all fifty states when it comes to overall qualities – meaning that West Virginia still has a lot of room for improvement.
If you’re thinking of moving to the Mountain State, here’s our complete guide to help you decide whether West Virginia is ideal for you or not!
Pros and Cons
Every state has its qualities and its flaws, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is relative. Some aspects can be considered as a pro by some people but can be seen as cons by other people. While some may argue that West Virginia has more cons than pros, it’s up to you to decide whether moving to the Mountain State is worth it or not. Here are 7 pros and 7 cons of moving to West Virginia:
- According to reports, the cost of living in West Virginia is significantly below the national average, which means that you can live a good life in the Mountain State without spending a lot of money.
- As we’ve mentioned previously, West Virginia is known as the Mountain State – that’s because this state has mountains upon mountains everywhere you go. West Virginia is also home to several rivers, meaning that you’ll always be surrounded by nature in this state!
- Even the “major” cities in West Virginia are small – which means that you’ll have to be okay with living in cities where there aren’t a lot of entertainment options, for instance.
- Because it is home to several small towns, West Virginia is a place where you’ll find friendly and charming people almost everywhere that you go!
- Considering that West Virginia is home to mountains and rivers, the one thing that you’ll for sure find in this state is outdoor adventures! If you’re into hiking or fishing or hunting, the Mountain State will be perfect for you!
- Unlike many states, the weather and climate in West Virginia allow for its residents to experience all four seasons quite distinctly, which may be a pro for a lot of people.
in the sky
- According to people who were born and raised in West Virginia, one of the best parts of living in the Mountain State is that you can see the stars in the beautiful sky at night, which is nearly impossible in major metropolitan areas.
- West Virginia ranks at #48 in terms of economy. This state is not as business-friendly as other states in the region, and the job growth in the Mountain State is slightly below the national average.
- While the national poverty rate is approximately 12%, West Virginia’s poverty rate is 16%, which means it has one of the 5 highest poverty rates in the country!
- One of the causes of West Virginia’s high poverty rate is the lack of jobs in this state, depending on the field of work. The Mountain State has one of the 20 highest unemployment rates in America.
- Unfortunately, West Virginia has a severe problem regarding drug abuse. According to reports (and to WV residents), substances such as heroin methamphetamine, and opioids are the causes of epidemics.
in poor condition
- Another complaint of West Virginia residents is that the roads of the state are mostly in poor conditions. West Virginia has over 30% of poorly maintained roads, whereas only about 20% of the roads in the United States are in poor conditions!
- Juvenile incarceration in West Virginia is quite an alarming problem. Out of every 100,000 juveniles, about 207 are currently serving time in juvenile correction facilities – the national average of juvenile incarceration is only 85/100,000 juveniles.
- Reports show that West Virginia is one of the worst states for health care access and health care quality. Unfortunately, the Mountain State is also the worst state for public health.
While most people will immediately relate West Virginia to mountains and rivers, this state has more than that to offer. The Mountain State has a rich history and several important events took place here. Here are 6 fun facts about West Virginia:
- Coal production: If you move to West Virginia, you’ll notice that there are plenty of coal mines across the state. An interesting fact regarding coal is that the Mountain State is responsible for approximately 15% of coal production in the United States!
- The Greenbrier: This luxury resort in West Virginia was originally established in 1778, and 26 U.S. presidents have stayed at this hotel at some point!
- Almost Heaven: Thanks to John Denver’s hit song ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’, West Virginia natives started calling their state “Almost Heaven”, which refers to all of the natural attractions that make the Mountain State beautiful.
- The first dunk: Back in 1985, Georgeann Wells – a student at West Virginia University – became the first female basketball player to dunk during a game in college!
- Mother’s Day: Apparently, the very first Mother’s Day celebration took place in West Virginia in 1908 – this celebration only became a national holiday six years later!
- Sales tax: If you don’t know what is a sales tax, that’s the tax that we pay when we buy some services or goods. According to official records, West Virginia was one of the first states to establish a sales tax, back in 1921.
Funny State Laws
When we think of law, we’re immediately reminded of fairness, justice, and seriousness. We don’t see lawyers or judges making jokes while on the court, thus it may be surprising to many people that some laws are funny. In fact, most states have funny laws! Here are 5 funny laws in the state of West Virginia:
- Whistling: If you’re heading out for a swim, keep in mind that it’s illegal for West Virginia residents to whistle while underwater!
- Walking a pet: Are you a lion or leopard owner? Be aware that, if you move to Alderson, West Virginia, it is forbidden to walk your pet lion or leopard even if they’re on a leash!
- Swear jar: Do you know when there’s a swear jar at home and we must pay one dollar each time we utter a swear word? Well, that’s an actual law in West Virginia: every time you swear in a public place, you’ll be fined one dollar!
- No snoozing: According to West Virginian law, it’s illegal for residents to snooze while riding the train.
- Ginseng digging: The law in the state of West Virginia determines that it is illegal to dig for ginseng on the neighbor’s lawn unless they permit you to do so!
Weather and Climate
As we’ve mentioned previously, it is possible to experience all four seasons quite distinctly in West Virginia. That’s because the Mountain State has a humid subtropical climate – which means that summers are hot and winters are cold, just as they should be. During summertime, temperatures can reach as high as 87 °F and they can drop as low as 25 °F during the winter. In addition to that, West Virginia experiences rainfall throughout the entire year, peaking in midsummer.
- If the topic at hand is nature, West Virginia is one of the best states for that! Home to beautiful mountains and amazing rivers, there is plenty to do in the Mountain State!
- Waterfalls at the Blackwater Falls State Park in WV
West Virginia is a landlocked state, that is, it is surrounded by land and that means that the Mountain State has no beaches. However, West Virginia has more than enough natural attractions to offer, ranging from seemingly endless mountains to long, beautiful rivers, and breathtaking forests. If you’re relocating to West Virginia, here are the top places you can visit:
- Blackwater Falls State Park
- Lost World Caverns
- Dolly Sods Wilderness Area
- Birthplace of Rivers (Pocahontas County)
- Berkeley Springs
Unfortunately, natural disasters can occur anywhere in the world and they affect thousands of families each year. While you will never be 100% safe from these disasters, there are a lot of things that each one of us can do to prepare in case of a natural hazard. The first thing we should do is familiarize ourselves with the most common natural disasters in the area where we’re moving to. Here are 5 natural disasters that can occur in West Virginia:
- Winter storms
- Severe storms
Moving Prices from Major Cities
Are you moving to West Virginia? If the answer is yes, there are a few things you should be aware of. First of all, you need to keep in mind that moving to a new place is quite pricey. But don’t worry! You can save money during the moving process if you follow a few steps, which include getting moving quotes from different companies. If you’re moving to West Virginia from major cities, here are some estimated values that you can expect to spend:
- Moving from Fort Worth, Texas to West Virginia: $2172 – $3621
- Moving from Baltimore, Maryland to West Virginia: $1206 – $2010
- Moving from Seattle, Washington to West Virginia: $4138 – $6897
- Moving from Los Angeles, California to West Virginia: $3863 – $6438
- Moving from Dallas, Texas to West Virginia: $2130 – $3550
- Moving from New York City, New York to West Virginia: $1428 – $2380
- Moving from Nashville, Tennessee to West Virginia: $1236 – $2060
If you’re moving to West Virginia from another city, you can use our free moving costs calculator to get more quotes.
Housing / Real Estate
The cost of living in West Virginia is one of the lowest in the country. Consequently, home prices in the Mountain State are quite affordable, especially in comparison to the other states surrounding West Virginia. According to Zillow, the median home price in West Virginia is approximately $113,600 – which is more than $100,000 below the median home price in the entire country! If you’re looking into renting a place in West Virginia, the average rent price is approximately $600 for a 1-bedroom apartment. However, West Virginia residents have reported renting 2-bedroom houses (with a backyard) for less than $900!
Price of Living
- The price of living in West Virginia is lower than the national average. Even if you live in the state’s capital, you’ll spend less money than you would in another state of the region!
- Sunset in Charleston, West Virginia.
Considering that the costs of living in West Virginia are significantly low, it is not unusual for people to want to move there. If that’s your case, you might be probably wondering how much you’ll spend with essential expenses every year – and we’re here to help you with that! Here are the prices of living in 5 different cities in West Virginia!
Charleston (metro area)
Huntington/Ashland (metro area)
Wheeling (metro area)
Cumberland (metro area)
Morgantown (metro area)
All estimates shown above were calculated using the Family Budget Calculator provided by the Economic Policy Institute.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of West Virginia was 1,792,147 as of 2019 – this number means that the Mountain State is the 13th least populated state in the country. In comparison to 2010, the population of West Virginia experienced a decrease of a little over 3%. More than half of the population are female persons and 20.5% are persons 65 years and over. The racial distribution of West Virginia is as follows:
- White: 92%
- Black or African American: 3.6%
- Two or more races: 1.8%
- Hispanic or Latino: 1.7%
- Asian: 0.8%
Unfortunately, West Virginia is considered one of the least educated states in America. Less than 30% of the population has attended college, even though West Virginia has one of the cheapest tuition costs in the United States. According to different rankings, West Virginia’s students have one of the lowest academic performances – for instance, the NAEP Math Scores for the Mountain State is 272, whereas the national average is 282. Here are the top high schools and universities in West Virginia:
- George Washington High School (Charleston)
- Bridgeport High School (Bridgeport)
- Morgantown High School (Morgantown)
- Hurricane High School (Hurricane)
- University High School (Morgantown)
Universities / Colleges
- West Virginia University (Morgantown)
- Marshall University (Huntington)
- Davis and Elkins College (Elkins)
- Bluefield State College (Bluefield)
- Alderson Broaddus University (Philippi)
Health care and Medical Institutions
If you’re moving to West Virginia, one of the things that you should know about this state is that it ranks at #47 in terms of health care. The quality of healthcare and public health are two major issues in the Mountain State, but access to healthcare is also a problem. Because West Virginia is mostly covered by hills and forests, it is logistically difficult for some residents to have access to hospitals. However, if you move to one of the major cities in West Virginia, you won’t face as many of those issues. Here are the top 5 medical institutions in the Mountain State:
- West Virginia University Hospitals (Morgantown)
- Charleston Area Medical Center (Charleston)
- St. Mary’s Medical Center (Huntington)
- Beckley ARH Hospital (Beckley)
- Berkeley Medical Center (Martinsburg)
Tourism / Attractions
If West Virginia is the topic at hand, one thing is for sure: this state has more than enough attractions for both tourists and permanent residents. The Mountain State is known as “Almost Heaven” for a reason, and it’s because it is filled with some of the most beautiful sights one can find in America. Here are 5 top-rated tourist attractions in West Virginia:
- Harpers Ferry
- Seneca Caverns
- Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
- Blackwater Falls State Park
We’ve mentioned that West Virginia is the 13th least populated state in America. Because of that, even the most well-known and populous cities in the Mountain State are relatively small, with none of them having more than 50,000 inhabitants. If you’re moving to West Virginia, here are the top 4 cities in this state:
- Charleston: The capital of West Virginia, Charleston is home to a little over 47,000 people, making it the most populous city in the state.
- Huntington: Due to its location on the Ohio River, Huntington is an important port-city, as well as being known for the heavy industry based in oil, coal, and chemicals.
- Morgantown: The third-most populous city in West Virginia, Morgantown is home to the West Virginia University, the top-rated college in the state, as well as being home to two of the best high school in the Mountain State.
- Parkersburg: Home to a little over 29,000 people, Parkersburg is shrinking as the population is slowly leaving. Still, this city is considered one of the best places to live (and to retire) in West Virginia.
With an unemployment rate of 6.7, West Virginia has the 19th highest unemployment in the country. The Mountain State is especially known for having several jobs in coal mining and logging. If you’re moving to West Virginia, you can search for jobs on the state’s official website. However, if you’re not interested in working for the state government, here are the top hiring companies in West Virginia:
- West Virginia United Health System
- Brand Energy and Infrastructure Services
- Special Metals
- CAMC Health System
The economy of West Virginia ranks at #48 among all fifty states. Mainly based on the mining industry in general, the Mountain State has a job growth of only 1.0%, whereas the national average is 1.4%. Here are the top industries in West Virginia:
- Service industry
- Health care
Things to do
An authentically Appalachian state, West Virginia is home to amazing mountains, rivers, forests, resorts, and many more. Hence why it’s safe to say that there are plenty of things to do in West Virginia – and here are 8 of them!
- Exhibition Coal Mine: West Virginia is well-known for being a coal-mining state, so it’s only natural that you should visit this exhibition coal mine in Beckley where you can take a tour in a vintage coal mine.
- Lost World Caverns: If you’re into adventure, you’ll certainly love visiting the Lost World Caverns in Lewisburg, where you can climb, crawl, and get dirty as you make your way to the depths of the cave!
- Greenbrier: This luxury resort has housed more than half of America’s former presidents, and it is open to the public. At Greenbrier, you can visit a top-secret facility called “The Bunker” that was once hidden from the public.
- Mountaineer Field: Are you a sports fan? West Virginia may be a relatively small state with no tradition in sports – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t watch games in the Mountain State!
- West Virginia State Museum: If you’re interested in history, the West Virginia State Museum has an extensive collection of objects representing the history and culture of the Mountain State.
- Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum: Are you interested in history and mysteries? You can mix both of these things by visiting the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, one of the first hand-cut stone buildings in the world!
- Mountain Rail Adventures: For an outdoor adventure, you can visit the Mountain Rail Adventures in Elkins, where you can ride steam locomotives or diesel-powered locomotives departing from different locations.
- West Virginia Botanic Garden: If you’re looking forward to spending the day connecting with nature or relaxing with your family, the WV Botanica Garden is the perfect location for that!
If you’re moving to West Virginia, one of the first things you’ll need to learn about is the public transportation system in this state. Because there are so many small towns in the Mountain State, transportation can be an issue. Here are 8 means of transportation you’ll find in West Virginia:
|Tri-State Transit Authority||$1.00|
|Mountain Line Transit Authority||$0.75 – $1.00|
|Easy Rider Bus||$0.75|
|Weirton Transit Corporation||$1.00|
|New River Transit Authority||$2.50|
|EPTA||$2.00 (plus 50 cents for each zone)|
Crime and Safety
According to reports, West Virginia’s violent crime rate is 2.9 per 1,000 while the national crime rate is 3.7 per 1,000 residents. The incarceration rate in West Virginia is also below the national average, however, the juvenile incarceration rate in this state is much higher than the national average, as we mentioned previously. The property crime rate in West Virginia (14.9 per 1,000 people) is also below the national average of 22.0 crimes per 1,000 residents. Here are the safest cities in West Virginia:
- Charles Town
Acquire a new driver’s license in West Virginia
West Virginian law requires that all new residents in the Mountain State must register their vehicles and transfer their out-of-state license within 30 days of moving to West Virginia. If you’re relocating to the Mountain State but you’re unsure of how to proceed to acquire a new driver’s license in West Virginia, here’s a detailed step-by-step guide:
- Set an appointment at the nearest DMV in West Virginia.
the following documentation:
- One proof of identity;
- One proof of Social Security number;
- Two proof of WV residency
- Your current valid out-of-state license.
If your license has expired, you will also be required to take the vision, written, and road tests, as well as pass a vision test. You can find more info on acceptable proof documents and required fees to acquire a driver’s license in West Virginia here.
Road safety, highways, and routes
According to traffic reports, there are 20.5 fatalities per 100,000 residents in West Virginia, which is significantly above the national average of 12.38 deaths per 100,000. However, the state government of West Virginia has already implemented highway safety programs in hopes of reducing the number of traffic fatalities. If you’re moving to West Virginia, here are the main highways and routes in the Mountain State:
- WV 20
- WV 16
- WV 2
- WV 3
- WV 10
If you think that West Virginia is all about outdoor adventures, mountains, and nature – we’re sorry to say that you might be wrong. The Mountain State also has quite a lot to offer for those who prefer to have fun while learning about the history, culture, and art of a place. Are you one of those people? Here are 7 museums to visit in West Virginia!
- West Virginia State Museum
- Heritage Farm Museum & Village
- Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and Youth Museum
- Museum of American Glass
- The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum
- Clay Center
- Huntington Museum of Art
In the end, is moving to West Virginia worth it?
Home to over 1.7 million people, West Virginia does not rank at a favorable position on the ranking of best states to live in America. The Mountain State is certainly one of the most beautiful states of the U.S., but it still has quite a lot to improve in terms of education, economy, infrastructure, health care, among other aspects. On the other hand, the cost of living in West Virginia is below the national average, and the median home price in this state is more than $100,000 cheaper than the median home price in the country. Because of the low cost-of-living and the beautiful nature that encompasses more than 70% of the state, moving to West Virginia is worth it especially for those who are about to retire or who have recently retired.
How to Move to West Virginia
Have you decided that moving to the Mountain State is ideal for you? In that case, we’ll be more than glad to help you with the moving process. Here are 10 things you need to know about how to move to West Virginia!
- Planning is essential in every aspect of our lives – and it’s no different when it comes to moving. If you’re moving to West Virginia, you should start planning everything right away. Our downloadable moving checklist can come in handy during this step!
- Once you start looking into relocating, you’ll find that this process can be quite expensive. Want a tip on how to save money? Downsize! Throw or give away all the things that aren’t essential in your home before hiring a moving company.
- Another tip on how to save money during the moving process is to get as many moving quotes as possible from different movers. This is a guaranteed way of finding the best price in the market!
- After you’re done getting moving quotes, you’ll probably choose the moving company that is more affordable to you – now it’s time to book this mover!
your new area
- As we’ve mentioned before, many aspects of West Virginia still need improvement. Because of that, we strongly advise you to visit your new area before making the final decision of moving or not.
- If you’re certain that moving to West Virginia is worth it, it’s time to start packing your things into moving boxes!
- When you start the packing process, it’s important to set aside some essential items that you’ll want to access easily once you move to West Virginia and pack them in the same box. That’s what we call an “Essentials” box.
- This tip may sound a bit too obvious — but we added it because some people forget to set aside some time to say their farewells. It’s important to start doing this at least two weeks in advance!
- Moving is stressful and time-consuming. By the time that you’re one or two days away from moving, you’ll probably notice how exhausted you’re feeling. That’s why it’s important to get some rest before D-day!
- While this tip is not necessarily related to the logistics of moving, it’s still important to mention it – given the stress associated with moving, it can be easy to take this process for granted. Try to keep in mind that you’re about to embark on a life-changing journey and you should enjoy it every step of the way!
Moving services to help you relocate to West Virginia
- If you’re new to the moving world, you’ll be surprised to see that there are so many services offered by movers – you can even move a piano to West Virginia!
- Movers transporting a sofa
If you’re moving to West Virginia, you should know that moving companies offer different services that will help you a great deal in this process. Are you moving an office to West Virginia? Or relocating a hot tub to the Mountain State? There are movers dedicated especially to offering this service! Here are 9 moving services to help you relocate to West Virginia!
- During the moving process, you’ll realize that moving furniture to West Virginia may be cheaper than buying new furniture once you get there!
- If you’re moving from your house to a new home in West Virginia, you won’t have trouble finding a residential mover to help relocate to the Mountain State.
- If you have a piano, you’re probably concerned about how you’re going to move a piano to West Virginia. Don’t worry: several movers offer this service!
and antique movers
- Do you own lots of art pieces and antiques? If that’s the case and you’re moving art and antiques to West Virginia, you’ll need a mover specialized in this service that requires a lot of attention and care.
- You don’t need to own a hot tub to imagine how heavy they are. Many hot tub owners may not be aware that it can be cheaper to move a hot tub to West Virginia than to buy a new one!
- Do you have a pool table at home that you cherish very much? Well, in case you’re wondering, it’s possible to move a pool table to West Virginia – and it’s probably going to cost you less money than a new one!
- Did you know that you can move an office to West Virginia? If you’re relocating both your residence and your work to the Mountain State, you can contact movers specialized in office moving.
- If you’re moving to West Virginia from across the country or from a state that is not near the Mountain State, several companies offer long-distance moving services!
- While it is ideal that you plan your move ahead of time, there are things in life that can’t be helped. In case something comes up and you need to move to West Virginia immediately, you can hire last-minute movers to help you relocate!