CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A program offering $20,000 in cash and incentives for remote workers to move to West Virginia has drawn dozens of newcomers and is now taking applications for a second host city.
Thousands of people inquired about the opportunity, and 53 new residents from as far away as Germany are being welcomed to the northern college town of Morgantown. Now the public-private program has launched a second phase, hoping to attract new permanent residents to Lewisburg, in the southeastern corner of the state, the state tourism office said in a news release Thursday.
The 2020 census found that West Virginia lost more of its residents than any other state in the past decade, and is now the only state with fewer residents than it had in 1950. Residents left as jobs in the coal, steel and other industries were eliminated. The nation’s second-largest coal producer, West Virginia has lost 56% of its coal mining jobs since 2009 as power plants turn toward renewable energy sources.