These Are The 10 West Virginia Cities With The Largest Black Population For 2018


We used science and data to determine which cities in West Virginia have the largest African American population.

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The Black community is one of the fastest growing communities in America this decade.

There are now 42 million people who identify as Black or African American living in America, making up 12% of the total population. According to the most recent American Community Survey, the Black population in West Virginia is 62,385 – at 3.4% of the total population of West Virginia.

The percentage growth of Blacks in America is the third largest percentage change for any race according to the Census’s race and ethnicity definition. As most scholars and historians agree, an increase in the diversity in America is a good thing.

We agree.

But how has the increase in the black population impacted West Virginia? Which cities and towns in West Virginia have seen the greatest increase in its Black population?

We broke down the most recent census data to determine the cities in West Virginia with the largest African American population in 2018:

  1. Bluefield (Photos)
  2. Beckley (Photos)
  3. Martinsburg (Photos)
  4. Charles Town (Photos)
  5. Charleston (Photos)
  6. Keyser (Photos)
  7. Huntington (Photos)
  8. Fairmont (Photos)
  9. Dunbar
  10. Oak Hill (Photos)

Bluefield took the number one over all spot for the largest Black population in West Virginia for 2018. See if it ranked as one of the most african american cities in America.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked.

To see where West Virginia ranked as a state on diversity, we have a ranking of the most diverse states in America.

And if you already knew these places were Black, check out the best places to live in West Virginia or the most diverse places in West Virginia.

How We Determined The Cities In West Virginia With The Largest Black Population For 2018

We still believe in the accuracy of data — especially from the census. So that’s where we went to get the breakdown of race across West Virginia.

That lead us to the Census’s most recently available data, the 2012-2016 American Community Survey data from the US Census.

Specifically, we looked at table B03002: Hispanic OR LATINO ORIGIN BY RACE. Here are the category names as defined by the Census:

  • Hispanic or Latino
  • White alone*
  • Black or African American alone*
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone*
  • Asian alone*
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone*
  • Some other race alone*
  • Two or more races*
* Not Hispanic or latino

Our particular column of interest here was the number of people who identified as Black or African American.

We limited our analysis to non-CDPs with a population greater than 5,000 people. That left us with 27 cities.

We then calculated the percent of residents that are Black or African American. The percentages ranked from 24.0% to 0.0%.

Finally, we ranked each city based on the percent of Black population with a higher score being more Black than a lower score. Bluefield took the distinction of being the most Black, while New Martinsville was the least African American city.

Read on for more information on how the cities in West Virginia ranked by population of African American residents or, for a more general take on diversity in America, head over to our ranking of the most diverse cities in America.

1. Bluefield

Bluefield, West Virginia

Population: 10,366
% African American: 24.02%
# Of African American Residents: 2,490
Percent Change Since 2010: 2.3%
More on Bluefield: Data | Jobs

Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area, which has a population of 107,342.

2. Beckley

Beckley, West Virginia

Population: 17,348
% African American: 23.9%
# Of African American Residents: 4,147
Percent Change Since 2010: 11.93%
More on Beckley: Data | Jobs

Beckley is a city in and the county seat of Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States. It was founded on April 4, 1838. Beckley was named in honor of John James Beckley, who was the first Clerk of the House of Representatives and the first Librarian of Congress. It was founded by his son Alfred Beckley. The current mayor is Rob Rappold

3. Martinsburg

Martinsburg, West Virginia

Source: Public domain

Population: 17,613
% African American: 14.32%
# Of African American Residents: 2,523
Percent Change Since 2010: 30.46%
More on Martinsburg: Data | Jobs

Martinsburg is a city in and the county seat of Berkeley County, West Virginia, United States, in the tip of the state’s Eastern Panhandle region. Its population was 17,687 in the 2016 census estimate, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the ninth-largest municipality in the state. Martinsburg is part of the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.

4. Charles Town

Charles Town, West Virginia

Population: 5,682
% African American: 13.6%
# Of African American Residents: 773
Percent Change Since 2010: -12.46%
More on Charles Town: Data | Jobs

Charles Town, officially the City of Charles Town, is a city in Jefferson County, West Virginia, and is also the county seat. The population was 5,259 at the 2010 United States Census.

5. Charleston

Charleston, West Virginia

Population: 50,210
% African American: 11.25%
# Of African American Residents: 5,650
Percent Change Since 2010: 9.84%
More on Charleston: Data | Jobs

Charleston is the state capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of West Virginia, and the county seat of Kanawha County. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers. As of the 2013 Census Estimate, it had a population of 50,821, while its metropolitan area had 224,743. It is a center of government, commerce, and industry.

6. Keyser

Keyser, West Virginia

Population: 5,261
% African American: 10.91%
# Of African American Residents: 574
Percent Change Since 2010: -14.07%
More on Keyser: Data | Jobs

Keyser is a city in and the county seat of Mineral County, West Virginia, United States. It is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,439 at the 2010 census.

7. Huntington

Huntington, West Virginia

Population: 48,735
% African American: 8.31%
# Of African American Residents: 4,050
Percent Change Since 2010: 0.45%
More on Huntington: Data | Jobs

Huntington is a city in Cabell County and Wayne County in the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is the county seat of Cabell County, and largest city in the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, sometimes referred to as the Tri-State Area. A historic and bustling city of commerce and heavy industry, Huntington has long-flourished due to its ideal location on the Ohio River at the mouth of the Guyandotte River. It is home to the Port of Huntington Tri-State, the busiest inland port in the United States.

8. Fairmont

Fairmont, West Virginia

Population: 18,699
% African American: 8.19%
# Of African American Residents: 1,531
Percent Change Since 2010: 5.59%
More on Fairmont: Data | Jobs

Fairmont is a city in Marion County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 18,704 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Marion County.

9. Dunbar


Population: 7,714
% African American: 7.6%
# Of African American Residents: 586
Percent Change Since 2010: -10.4%
More on Dunbar: Data | Jobs

Dunbar is a city in Kanawha County, West Virginia, along the Kanawha River. The population was 7,907 at the 2010 census.

10. Oak Hill

Oak Hill, West Virginia

Population: 8,722
% African American: 6.67%
# Of African American Residents: 582
Percent Change Since 2010: 18.29%
More on Oak Hill: Data | Jobs

Oak Hill is a city in Fayette County, West Virginia, United States and is the primary city within the Oak Hill, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area. The micropolitan area is also included in the Beckley-Oak Hill, WV Combined Statistical Area. The population was 7,730 at the 2010 census. Country singer Hank Williams was discovered to be dead while the car in which he was a passenger was stopped in Oak Hill, and Oak Hill is generally accepted to be his place of death.

There You Have It – Black Populations Across West Virginia

If you’re looking for a breakdown of African American populations across West Virginia according to the most recent data, this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the least African American places in West Virginia:

  1. New Martinsville
  2. Vienna
  3. Grafton

For more West Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most African American Cities In West Virginia

Rank City Population % African American
1 Bluefield 10,366 24.02%
2 Beckley 17,348 23.9%
3 Martinsburg 17,613 14.32%
4 Charles Town 5,682 13.6%
5 Charleston 50,210 11.25%
6 Keyser 5,261 10.91%
7 Huntington 48,735 8.31%
8 Fairmont 18,699 8.19%
9 Dunbar 7,714 7.6%
10 Oak Hill 8,722 6.67%
11 Princeton 6,056 6.51%
12 Morgantown 30,364 6.21%
13 Wheeling 27,758 6.07%
14 Buckhannon 5,645 5.33%
15 South Charleston 13,182 4.76%
16 Nitro 6,505 3.43%
17 Clarksburg 16,226 3.08%
18 Weirton 19,307 3.0%
19 Elkins 7,232 2.74%
20 St. Albans 10,788 2.73%
21 Bridgeport 8,364 2.53%
22 Parkersburg 30,962 2.1%
23 Hurricane 6,460 1.49%
24 Moundsville 8,858 1.16%
25 Grafton 5,156 0.97%
26 Vienna 10,566 0.83%
27 New Martinsville 5,255 0.0%

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