The Times West Virginian

Business

May 25, 2014

Forecast population decrease will impact economy

FAIRMONT — By 2030, West Virginia could face a population drop equal to about 19,500 people.

The West Virginia University College of Business and Economics’ Bureau of Business and Economic Research recently published its long-term population projection for the state. The report, titled “Population Trends in West Virginia through 2030,” was released in March.

John Deskins, director of the BBER and one of the authors of the study, explained that the report uses publicly available data on population and various characteristics from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources to forecast the trends for about 20 years.

Dr. Christiadi, demographer at the BBER and also an author of publication, explained that there are two major components of population growth or decline: net migration, which is in-migration minus out-migration, and natural change, which is births minus deaths.

He said the bureau’s previous projection from a few years back was based upon information from the 2010 Census, and at that time, the BBER predicted that a population decline would happen sometime after the year 2025. However, the BBER’s new forecast, which utilizes more recent data, projects that the decrease in population will start much sooner — between 2016 and 2020. Christiadi explained that the main reason is because of differences in migration.

Deskins said the amount of people leaving West Virginia is expected to be pretty balanced with those moving into the state.

“We think overall migration is going to be very low,” he said. “We don’t expect much net migration all together.”

That migration pattern has fluctuated over recent years and is fairly uncertain. But there’s room for hope.

“The reason for optimism is that net migration figures could be a lot better than what we forecast,” Deskins said.

For instance, if economic opportunities come to the state, such as the ethane cracker plant that has been proposed for Wood County, more job opportunities could result, he said. This type of positive boost could encourage current West Virginians who were thinking about moving to stay in the state and also attract people from other states, which means losing much fewer people than expected.

But still, what’s going to happen with the net migration is difficult to predict. However, the natural population change is pretty certain, Deskins said.

The BBER previously predicted that the natural population change will be increasingly negative, and maintains that forecast for the years to come in the new report, Christiadi said.

“It’s going to be a gradual decline,” he said. “If you’re talking about West Virginia for the last three years, we didn’t grow at all.”

The estimates show that the state’s population declined in the 2012-2013 year, but should see another uptick in 2014-2015 before starting to drop gradually, Christiadi said.

Deskins added that following a period of stability, the state will begin experiencing sustained drops in population starting around 2015 or 2016. There will be minor declines throughout the decade, leading to more pronounced decreases by 2030.

West Virginia’s population is projected to drop by about 19,500 people between 2010 and 2030, which represents just over 1 percent of the population, he said.

“It certainly could be a lot worse than that,” Deskins said. “But that’s still not indicative of a strong, healthy economy. To be talking about any population decline is not a good sign in terms of judging economic performance.”

He said that decline of 19,500 is driven by the natural population change, which looks at how the population is aging. It’s almost a certainty that births are going to fall short of deaths, so there will be more people in the older population and less in the younger population.

“There are two forces,” Christiadi said. “We are going to see a much higher growth of the elderly population and at the same time the working age population, the younger age population, will decline.”

These changes will affect the economy as a result.

“It’s going to be a bit difficult to find workers to replace those who retire,” he said.

Plus, with many surrounding states expecting to experience the same trend of a decline in the working age population and growth in the elderly population, there will be a lot of competition among the states for workers, Christiadi said.

Deskins said a decline in the population could mean a lower demand for business’ goods and services, which could cause companies considering expanding into West Virginia to decide not to move here.

Another concern mentioned in the report is the possibility of West Virginia losing one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives because of the declining population in the state, while the country as a whole continues to grow, Christiadi said. This would mean that there could possibly only be two people representing West Virginia’s interests in U.S. government.

Deskins pointed out that the projected population loss among most of the counties in the state varies widely, with some counties seeing a big drop while others only suffering a small decrease.

However, some areas of the state — Monongalia County, and Berkeley and Jefferson counties in the Eastern Panhandle — are projected to experience strong population growth.

“That has been the trend for quite a while,” Christiadi said of those parts of West Virginia.

Deskins said the shift in population is forecast to continue in the North Central and Northeast regions of the state. Eleven counties in total are expected to add people to their population numbers between 2010 and 2030.

“The key is to focus on job opportunities that will help improve the net migration figure, to keep people in the state and to even attract people from other states (or countries) to move here,” Deskins said of how to keep the overall state economy strong and growing.

To access the full “Population Trends in West Virginia through 2030” report, go online to www.be.wvu.edu/bber.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

1
Text Only
Business
  • ‘L-gov’ program of West Virginia Treasurer’s Office providing many benefits

    The “L-gov” program of the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office is providing many benefits to governmental entities across the state, including the City of Fairmont.
    L-gov, which is an abbreviation for local government, helps cities, towns, school boards, public service districts and other entities process their bills in a streamlined, efficient way.

    July 27, 2014

  • Cardinal Tax Services-JB.jpg Helping people focus of Cardinal Tax Services

    At Cardinal Tax Services LLC, Wendy Cutlip is doing what she enjoys — helping people.
    Cutlip, owner and Registered Tax Return Preparer, opened her new business in White Hall at the beginning of June. It is located in the Mountain Gate Business Park, which is along Route 250 South just past Fabric and Foam and next to the Sunoco.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 22, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 22, 2014

  • Morgantown’s housing expenses exceed national average

    The housing prices in Morgantown are driving the city’s cost of living above the national average, a new survey reports.
    John Deskins, director of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics’ Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), explained that the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) orchestrates data collection in 288 cities across the country.

    July 20, 2014

  • JA Used Furniture-JB.jpg J.A. Used Furniture has valuable variety

    J.A. Used Furniture in Fairmont carries items that people need — all at low prices.
    Owner Ron Dray officially opened the doors of his new business, located at 10 Locust Ave., toward the end of December. He explained that the “J.A.” initials in the store’s name stand for the names of his two granddaughters, Jordan and Adriauna.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Backbone Security, T&T Pump Co. among 37 state companies recognized

    Two Marion County companies were recently celebrated for their continued successes in exporting.
    Backbone Security and T&T Pump Co., both in Fairmont, were among the 37 West Virginia companies that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Cabinet Secretary Keith Burdette, the West Virginia Development Office and the West Virginia Export Council recently acknowledged for expanding their business to new parts of the world. An awards presentation was held in Charleston on June 24.

    July 13, 2014

  • All Things Herbal-JB.jpg All Things Herbal health and wellness shop

    All Things Herbal Local Market is a one-stop, health and wellness shop.
    Owner Christa Blais officially opened her new business in downtown Fairmont at 327 Adams St., across from Veterans’ Square, on June 6 during Main Street Fairmont’s First Friday event.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3-D printing continuing to revolutionize manufacturing

    As 3-D printing is revolutionizing manufacturing, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing continues to stay at the forefront of this technology.
    RCBI has three Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers, located in Bridgeport, Charleston and Huntington.

    July 6, 2014

  • Blackheart International -JB.jpg Blackheart International bringing high-quality services

    Blackheart International, a firearms manufacturer and provider of logistics and training solutions, is bringing high-quality services to the local community.
    At the beginning of April, the company moved from Philippi, where it had been located since 2005, to its new home in Fairmont.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Business
House Ads