MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia University researchers predict the state's population will decline by 1 percent, or nearly 20,000 residents, through the year 2030 as deaths continue to outpace births.
The report released Monday by WVU's Bureau of Business and Economic Research says the state will begin a sustained population decline around 2016.
A U.S. Census report released last week found that deaths outpaced births by 1,000 in West Virginia last year.
West Virginia has the country's second highest concentration of older residents. According to Census figures, 16 percent of West Virginia's population is 65 or older, compared with 17.3 percent in Florida.
The WVU report projects that the share of the state's population over 65 will grow to about 23 percent by 2030.
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