West Virginia Department of Commerce Quality of Life

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Quality of Life

Quality of Life in West Virginia

The Mountain State enjoys natural wonders preserved in more than 200,000 acres of state parks and forests, with 800 miles of hiking trails and 5,000 acres of fishing waters. It's no wonder tourism attracts 11 million visitors each year, generating more than $3 billion in economic activity.

National Geographic lists Fayetteville among top adventure towns
Fayetteville, W.Va., has been designated by National Geographic Adventure magazine as one of America's "Top 50 Adventure Towns." The September 2007 article cites Fayetteville attractions such as the New River Gorge and Bridge Day, the state's largest single-day festival. Each year on the third Saturday in October, crowds gather to watch jumpers legally parachute from the New River Gorge Bridge. Fayetteville also is at the center of acclaimed New River Gorge National River activities including whitewater rafting, rock-climbing, mountain biking and fishing.

Frommer's Travel calls Cass Railroad State Park "most scenic"
The May 2007 issue of Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine cited Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in Pocahontas County as among America's most scenic train rides. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is home to the world's largest roster of authentic, geared steam locomotives.

West Virginia tourism up by 6.1 percent
Two studies commissioned by the West Virginia Division of Tourism show that visitors to the Mountain State contribute billions of dollars to the state's travel and tourism industry. Travel spending generated more than $3.9 billion in 2006, up 6.1 percent from 2005.

Day travelers spent $1.9 billion, or nearly half of the state's total travel spending, on gaming and entertainment. Overnight visitors spent about $1.2 billion on their trips in 2006. About 17 percent of overnight visitors were from West Virginia. Another 53 percent hailed from Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Maryland. During 2006, visitor spending in West Virginia directly supported 44,000 jobs, with earnings of $854 million. Travel spending generated the greatest number of jobs in accommodations and food services, arts and entertainment, and recreation.

United Van Lines records more people moving to West Virginia
In 2007, United Van Lines moved 11.4 percent more households into West Virginia than out. The annual study conducted by the nation's largest household goods mover shows 44.3 percent left the state, and 55.7 percent moved in. That is the highest inbound percentage recorded for West Virginia since 1993. The study records more households moving out than in West Virginia's border states, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The study reinforced findings by Atlas Van Lines' 2006 Migration Patterns Study, which also found West Virginia to be a high inbound state.

Atlas Van Lines Study shows more moving into West Virginia
More people relocated to West Virginia than moved from the state, according to Atlas Van Lines' 2006 Migration Patterns Study. "The state had significantly more households move into the state than out of it," said Greg Hoover, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Atlas World Group. "This is the first time that West Virginia has become a high inbound state."

Charleston, W.V.a.

Kiplinger's notes Charleston among "Best Cities for Every Stage of Life"
A low cost of living and a growing creative class were factors in Charleston becoming one of the "Best Cities for Every Stage of Life" in the June issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. In the empty nesters (married with no children or single, ages 45-64) category, Charleston ranked along with San Francisco; Seattle; Madison, Wis.; and Boulder, Colo. The rankings are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Council for Community and Economic Research, as well as research from Richard Florida, a Carnegie Mellon professor and author of "The Rise of the Creative Class."

Where to Retire names Charleston as one of "8 Havens with Lower Home Prices"
"The hills around Charleston and the Kanawha River flowing through the city are reminders that West Virginia is one of the prettiest states in the Union." Cost of living is below average, with median house cost of $127,600, says the November/December 2007 issue.

Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranks in top third in United States
For the third year, Charleston has shown consecutive improvement in economic strength and growth. According to Policom Corporation, the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranked in the top one-third among 361 other MSAs in the United States.

Expansion Management ranks West Virginia 8th for attracting new business
West Virginia is among the nation's leaders in attracting businesses, according to an extensive study completed by Expansion Management magazine and the National Policy Research Center. The study ranks West Virginia eighth among the 50 states. The study, which appeared in the May-June 2007 issue, also ranks three West Virginia cities among the top 20 small metro areas for business recruitment and attraction. Charleston was ranked eighth, Parkersburg 14th and Wheeling 17th. The magazine also rated Morgantown as a five-star quality of life area.

Morgantown, W.V.a.

Forbes ranks Morgantown in its "best places" ratings
Morgantown ranked number six of Best Smaller Metros in Forbes Magazine's list of "Best Small Places for Business and Careers." The ratings were based on colleges in the area, cost of doing business, cost of living, crime rate, culture and leisure, educational attainment, income growth, job growth and net migration.

Morgantown is an Inc, Boomtown for 2007  
Inc. named Morgantown, W.Va., in its list of top 10 Boomtowns. To compile the rankings, Inc. examined job-growth data, supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It analyzed current-year employment growth, as well as average annual job growth over the past three years, and compared job growth in the first and second halves of the period comprising the past 10 years and analyzed job growth by industry sector.

The National Trust names Morgantown a "Distinctive Destination"
The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently named Morgantown one of its Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2007. Morgantown was selected from among 63 destinations in 27 states. The prestigious annual designation recognizes communities in which residents have worked to preserve the historic and scenic assets of their towns.

Huntington, W.V.a.

Forbes ranks Huntington in its "best places" ratings
Huntington ranked top "best" for cost of living in Forbes Magazine's list of "Best Places for Business and Careers."

Where to Retire cites Glade Springs as "ideal for retirement"
Glade Springs Village in Daniels has been rated as "ideal for retirement" in Where to Retire magazine's March/April issue. Factors included the community's 18-hole championship golf course, proximity to attractions such as Tamarack and outdoor recreation such as fishing and skiing.