West Virginia Overview

Abbreviated as WV by ABBREVIATIONFINDER, West Virginia is a state in the United States. Its zip code is WV and its capital is Charleston. The state has a population of 1,805,832 inhabitants (2018). The total area of West Virginia is 62,755 km², of which 62,361 km² is land and 394 km² (0.6%) is water.


Until the arrival of settlers from Europe, the territory of West Virginia was inhabited by Indian tribes. The first settlers settled in the area in the early 18th century after several expeditions explored the western mountainous parts of Virginia (the Appalachians). The inhabitants of the first settlements faced a number of unfavorable factors, such as the inaccessible mountainous terrain, the resistance of the natives, the military conflict between the British and the French in the Ohio River Valley and the disputed ownership of the land. The French and Indian Warssettles the British and French claims to the area. In 1763 the French ceded to the British all lands west of the Appalachians to the Mississippi River, but the British royal declaration of the same year determined boundary line to create Indian reservations and prohibits colonial expansion westward.

Despite these obstacles, the number of new settlements in the west is growing. At the same time, dissatisfaction with the government is becoming widespread. In 1769, it was proposed to create a 14th colony named Vandalia, and a few years later the inhabitants of the lands west of Virginia and Pennsylvania moved to the area with a request to create a 14th state, Vestilvania. The frontier inhabitants, composed mainly of Germans, Scottish, and Irish Protestants, differed from the aristocratic settlers in eastern Virginia. The mountainous terrain and harsh climate make slavery economically unjustified in the region, and legislative and tax policies favor the eastern part of the state. Due to geographic region is more economically oriented towards the valley of the Ohio River than the rest of Virginia. These differences, as well as the Virginia government’s disregard for the region, make the majority of the population west of the Appalachians want to separate into a separate state with their own government.

West Virginia was established as a separate state during the American Civil War with the separation of its territory from Virginia. Residents in northwestern Virginia counties are reluctant to secede from the Union, unlike planters in the south and the coast who adhere to the Confederate states. West Virginia was separated from Virginia at the congress in Wheeling, held in the city of the same name, and was admitted to the Union in 1863. The existence of the state was confirmed by a decision of the Supreme Court in 1870.

In the last decades of the 19th century, the state experienced rapid industrial development associated with the development of mineral deposits and the construction of railways. The leading sector in the economy is the mining industry. The most intense periods in the development of the coal industry occurred in the period 1910 – 1970 (West Virginia was the first in the country for coal mining). In the early twentieth century, the state was repeatedly engulfed in riots in connection with the struggle of miners for their rights.


Located in the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia covers an area of ​​62,754.8 square kilometers, of which 393.8 square kilometers is water, making it the 41st largest state in the United States.  West Virginia borders Pennsylvania and Maryland to the northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Ohio to the northwest, and Kentucky to the southwest. Its longest border is with Virginia – 613 km, followed by Ohio – 391, Maryland – 280, Pennsylvania – 190 and Kentucky – 127.

  • CountryAAH: Offers a full list of cities and towns in West Virginia, together with postal codes for each of them, and including capital city of West Virginia.

West Virginia is located entirely in the Appalachian region, and the state is almost entirely mountainous. The altitude is lower near the Ohio and Shenondoah rivers. About 75% of the state is located on the Cumberland and Alegheni plateaus. Although the terrain is not high-mountainous, in most areas it is very hilly. The average altitude of West Virginia is approximately 460 meters. The highest peak is Spruce Knob (1482 m) [8], located in the western part of the state.

Most of the state is drained by the Ohio River in Mississippi and from there into the Gulf of Mexico. Only the extreme eastern regions are drained by the Potomac River in Chesapeake Bay.

West Virginia’s climate is usually a humid subtropical climate ( Köppen Cfa Climate Classification, excluding Dfb of higher elevations) with warm to hot, humid summers and frosty winters that become more severe with increasing altitude. Some southern parts of the highlands also have a mountainous temperate climate (Köppen Cfb), where winter temperatures are more temperate and summers are slightly colder.

Average January temperatures range from about -4 ° C near the Cheat River to 5 ° C along the Kentucky border. July averages range from 19 ° C along the Potomac River to 24 ° C in the western part of the state. In mountain it is cooler than in the lower part of the state [9]. The highest recorded temperature in the state was 44 ° C in Martinsburg on July 10, 1936, and the lowest – -38 ° C in Louisburg on December 30, 1917.


West Virginia has a population of 1,805,832 as of 2018, of which 93.5% are white, 3.6% African American, 0.8% Asian, 0.3% Native American and 1.7% Hispanic. Only 1.6% of the state’s population was born outside the United States. The state has one of the lowest proportions of residents (2.5%) in the United States who speak a language other than English at home. 5.3% of the West Virginia population is under 5 years old, 20.2% are under 18 and 19.9% ​​are 65 or older. The share of women as part of the total population is 50.5%.

  • Bluefield
  • Wheeling
  • Charleston

West Virginia state