- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

NORTON, Va. (AP) - Virginia is expected to become the 10th most populous state by 2040, but nearly every locality in its coalfields region in the southwest is expected to lose population in the same timeframe.

The Roanoke Times reports that new projections from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service show that southwest Virginia’s coalfields region is expected to lose 8 percent of its population between 2020 and 2040. The projections indicate a continuation of the trend of people leaving the region, which includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Scott, Russell, Tazell and Wise counties and the city of Norton.

Weldon Cooper Center analyst Shonel Sen says the population decline stems from the declining coal industry, lower birth rates and an aging population.

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Information from: The Roanoke Times, https://www.roanoke.com

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