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Southern West Virginia facts for kids

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Southern WVA
Map of Southern WV

Southern West Virginia is a culturally and geographically distinct region in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Southern West Virginia is known for its coal mining heritage and Southern affinity. The region is also closely identified with southwestern Virginia and southeastern Kentucky, with close proximity to western North Carolina and East Tennessee. Today, Southern West Virginia continues to grapple with poverty and continuing population loss. Almost the entire region is located in West Virginia's 3rd congressional district, which was represented by Evan Jenkins until he resigned on September 30, 2018, to take a seat as a justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Southern West Virginia, in a cultural and historical context, includes Boone County, Fayette County, Greenbrier County, Lincoln County, Logan County, McDowell County, Mercer County, Mingo County, Mingo County, Monroe County, Nicholas County, Raleigh County, Summers County, and Wyoming County.

The New River Gorge Bridge located in Fayette County. Completed in 1977, it is the third longest arch bridge in the world.

The City of Beckley, in Raleigh County, is the largest city in this region, followed by Bluefield, in Mercer County. Beckley has undergone a period of modest economic growth, and serves as the primary economic and cultural hub of much of Southern West Virginia.


The Greenbrier resort located Greenbrier county.
  • Bluefield Blue Jays
  • Princeton Rays
  • West Virginia Miners

Historical events and landmarks


County 2015 (estimate) 2010 2000 1990 1980 1970 1960 1950
Boone 23,372 24,629 25,535 25,870 30,447 25,118 28,764 33,173
Fayette 44,997 46,039 47,579 47,952 57,863 49,332 61,731 82,443
Greenbrier 35,516 35,480 34,453 34,693 37,665 32,090 34,446 39,295
Lincoln 21,415 21,720 22,108 21,382 23,675 18,912 20,267 22,466
Logan 34,707 36,743 37,710 43,032 50,679 46,269 61,570 77,391
McDowell 19,835 22,113 27,329 35,233 49,899 50,666 71,359 98,887
Mercer 61,164 62,264 62,980 64,980 73,942 63,206 68,206 75,013
Mingo 25,292 26,839 28,253 33,739 37,336 32,780 39,742 47,409
Monroe 13,506 13,502 14,583 12,406 12,873 11,272 11,584 13,123
Nicholas 25,594 26,233 26,562 26,775 28,126 22,552 25,414 27,696
Raleigh 77,510 78,859 79,220 76,819 86,821 70,080 77,826 96,273
Summers 13,239 13,927 12,999 14,204 15,875 13,213 15,640 19,183
Wyoming 22,151 23,796 25,708 28,990 35,993 30,095 34,836 37,540
Total 418,298 432,144 445,019 466,075 541,194 465,585 551,385 669,892

Educational institutions

Concord University Marsh Hall Bell Tower
Marsh Hall and its Bell Tower at Concord University
Colleges and Universities

Universities and colleges

Southern West Virginia has a large array of universities and colleges, including Appalachian Bible College, Bluefield State College, Bridgemont Community and Technical College, Concord University, University of Charleston–Beckley, New River Community and Technical College, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, and West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

Public high schools

The state's public high schools are Bluefield High School, Chapmanville Regional High School, Fayetteville High School (West Virginia), Greenbrier East High School, Greenbrier West High School, Independence High School (West Virginia), James Monroe High School (West Virginia), Lincoln County High School (West Virginia), Liberty High School (Glen Daniel, West Virginia), Logan High School (West Virginia), Man High School, Meadow Bridge High School, Midland Trail High School, Mingo Central Comprehensive High School, Montcalm High School, Mount View High School (West Virginia), Nicholas County High School, Oak Hill High School (West Virginia), PikeView High School, Princeton High School, Richwood High School (West Virginia), River View High School (West Virginia), Scott High School (Madison, West Virginia), Shady Spring High School, Sherman High School (Seth, West Virginia), Summers County High School, Tug Valley High School, Valley High School (Smithers, West Virginia), Van Junior-Senior High School, Westside High School (West Virginia), Woodrow Wilson High School (Beckley, West Virginia), and Wyoming East High School.

Private secondary schools

Southern West Virginia's private secondary schools are Beth Haven Christian School, Bluefield International Academy, Greater Beckley Christian School, Mercer Christian Academy, Mountain View Christian School, Regional Christian School, Rainelle Christian Academy, Seneca Trail Christian Academy, Trinity Christian Academy, and Victory Baptist Academy.

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