A rugged, poverty stricken state with a naturally beautiful landscape and a unique population. West Virginia's poor economic infrastructure stems from the lack of an urban white-collar economy and collapse of the coal industry. The largest city in the entire state is Charleston, which is home to a mere 185,000 residents. However, the lack of a powerful economy has prevented suburban mall districts and McMansion golf course homes from destroying rural areas (as is common in most southern states). The result of this commercial isolation, rural living, and blue-collared work force is a truly authentic group of people who can only be defined as Mountaineers (which is the team name of West Virginia University). These Mountaineers are characterized by a love of the outdoors, a fondness of reckless partying, thier nasal southern/midwestern hybrid accent, and their generally gregarious attitudes. West Virginians usually inhabit small towns of about 15,000-45,000 where people live in modest homes on large sects of land, which explains the passion for all things outdoors. And with the beautiful, mountainous landscape, it is a perfect place to be an outdoorsman (especially in fall/winter). However, a large problem with West Virginia is fraud from those collecting from the goverment by either women who have pawned their children off on their parents, or by former laborers who file false claims of injury to collect money and prescriptions. Couple that with the large amount of productive young people who migrate to cities such as Baltimore, Pittsburgh, NYC, and Philadelphia, and there are not many young people with college experience who stay in the state.
In short, West Virginia is a pretty place without a city worth mention. Most people who live here are very easy going and fun, but also relatively uneducated and poor.
The state slogan is "West Virginia: Wild, Wonderful", and if it were ignoring economy, this would be a perfect description. Which is the reason I had to leave for Pittsburgh.
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