17 Reasons Not To Move To Charleston, WV (Voted By Locals!)

Charleston, West Virginia, USA skyline on the Kanawha River at dusk.

Charleston is the capital of West Virginia, and while being the capital it is still a smaller city with just 48,051 residents. Despite being smaller there is still plenty for residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the city.

Keep reading to find out more!

1. The City Isn’t That Diverse

When it comes to diversity it doesn’t take much looking to realize that the vast majority of people come from one ethical group. When looking at a US Census for Charleston, you will see that 78.3% of residents are white. This makes Charleston the 17 whitest cities in the United States and the next most common race is people who claim to be of two or more races.

Fortunately, there isn’t any mention of segregation or racism throughout the city, but if you are wanting to have a variety of cultures from throughout the world then this likely isn’t the best city to move to.

2. The Poverty Rates Are High

Unfortunately, being located in Charleston means you are going to have to deal with its homelessness problem as well. In its most recent study, it was found that Charleston had 353 people who were currently struggling with homelessness. When calculating that out with the two cities’ populations you find that the cities have a homelessness rate of 0.32%.

While it might not seem like it is too much of a problem, you are also having to deal with high poverty rates. It was found by the US Census that 19.8% of the population is dealing with poverty. This is a fair amount over the national average of 10.2% of the population, showing just how bad the job market around the area is.

3. Crime Rates Are High

Unfortunately, the crime rates in Charleston are also quite bad. Charleston currently only has a crime index of 3 out of 100, 100 being the safest city in the United States. I don’t know about you, but that is not at all comforting to me.

The first reason for this is that the number of property crimes that occur in Charleston is near twice the national average. The number of property crimes is about 28 crimes per 100,000 higher than the national average. Along with that, the amount of crimes per square mile is nearly 3 times the national average. Just about every form of property crime occurs more often than it does in many other parts of the country.

4. The Weather Is Super Wet & Rainy

When you hear about West Virginia, the first thing that you are likely to think about is going to be the amount of rain that it gets. And to a degree this is true, the West Virginia wet season typically starts in October and lasts until May. During these 8 months, typically there will be around a 32% chance it will rain each day. It will also receive around 45 inches of rain each year.

But, During the summer months, West Virginia and Charleston weather can be incredibly nice and allow you to enjoy the number of parks, mountains, rivers, lakes, and other natural activities that can be found all over the Southwest of West Virginia. However, even in the summer, the temperature is mild at an average of 80 degrees max temperature.

5. Drug & Substance Addictions

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Another large problem that you are going to have to worry about if you decide to move to Charleston is the fact that there is a large problem with drug abuse and addiction. It was found that the amount of drug use of opioids is extremely high compared to the rest of the United States.

It was found that in the most recent year that there were 8% of all West Virginians abuse opioid pain medications. Cocaine is the third most abused drug in Washington, with 7.2% of the population hooked on it. West Virginia drug addiction statistics show that in the state, the fatal drug overdose death rate is 14.5%, which is higher than the national average of roughly 12.8%.

6. The Internet Isn’t Very Fast

Another problem that you are going to have to deal with when living in Brandon is that brownouts are fairly common. A brownout is when there is a reduction in or restriction on the availability of electrical power in a particular area. This means that you are going to have to deal with fairly frequent problems with your electrical devices and there is no schedule so when you need your electronics, you could lose your power. And These brownouts are most common when it comes to your internet. The city has gained a small reputation for having poor internet services.

7. The Capital Is Fairly Small

When it comes to a capital city, you would typically expect the city to be fairly large, and in most cases, you are going to want it to be the largest city in the state. And for West Virginia, Charleston is both the capital and the largest city in the state, however, it still just has a population of 48,000 people, making it the 11th smallest capital, with many of the other capitals being located in smaller states.

8. You Are Far From Any Large City

If you decide to move to Charleston you will find that the city is not only boring, but very often you will notice just how isolated the city is from everywhere else. This is a fact that is fairly rare in the eastern part of the United States, and being located right by the Appalachian Mountains, it makes it difficult to build cities close to each other, meaning that the whole of the state is very separated and isolated. As I talked about earlier you aren’t going to be close to any other major city, so hopefully, you really enjoy the small-town feel as even the capital and largest cities are extremely small.

9. The Average Income Is Low

Open empty leather wallet , no money in pocket, empty

Charleston is unlucky as it has one of the poorer economies in the surrounding area and even has a poorer economy in the rest of the United States. There are plenty of different jobs in Charleston, and surrounding cities as not many companies are moving into the area for a variety of reasons. From this, the average income for those in Charleston has slowed to an average of just over $49,536 per household each year, a bit under the United States average of just $70,700 a year. And signs show that the economy is only going to continue to stagnate in upcoming years as more businesses pass over the city for other opportunities. This is even worse when most other aspects of life are very expensive.

10. You Should Expect A Cold Welcome

If you do choose to move to Charleston, the temperature isn’t the only cold thing that you are going to have to deal with. When you get to the city you will find that people are very difficult to interact with and it is even harder if you are trying to make new friends.

The biggest reason for this is the fact that most people have mostly stopped trying to expand their friend groups when they were back in school. This means that as an adult who is new to the city, you can go a good long while before you meet your neighbors, and can take years before you develop friendships with those throughout the city.

11. There Aren’t Any Sports

Located on the east coast of the United States, it may seem that there are plenty of different teams for you to choose to root for. And the Northeast states have a lot of great sports cities. However, if you want to attend any sporting events, you will have to drive for at least an hour and deal with traffic. When it comes to sports teams in Charleston, you only have the Nailers, West Virginia University, and Marshall University. Both of these teams are minor league teams or colleges and aren’t going to give you a professional game experience.

12. The Income Tax

Unfortunately, tax is a constant that we will always have to deal with no matter what city we choose to live in. The largest tax problem you are going to have to be concerned about is the fact that the income tax is both higher than the state and the national average. Along with that, the property tax is also very high.

West Virginia’s base average comes in at just 6%, however, but the county adds on a fair amount. The county adds an additional 3% totaling an 18.73% income tax rate, coming in far above what those throughout the rest of the state. The property tax rate is at a high of 1.000%, meaning that you are going to have to pay an additional $800 every year for an average-priced home.

13. Unemployment Rates Are High

One of the major reasons that almost everyone in Charleston is going to have to commute to farther cities every day is that the job market in Charleston is almost nonexistent. According to locals, the only jobs that are available are just fast food restaurants or other minimum wage paying jobs.

It was found that nearly 8% of people in Charleston are dealing with unemployment, which is nearly 5% higher than the national unemployment average. With these rates, it was found that 1 in 17 people are dealing with unemployment and most can’t find a job due to the poor job market.

14. Government Spending Is Low

Another one of the most common problems that people state concerning the city of Joliet is the fact that the local government is not good at making the changes the city needs. Complaints vary from calling the government corrupt and greedy to simply calling them very slow and old-timey.

Whatever reason you may assume that the government isn’t making decisions in order to improve the city, most will find this constant stagnation very frustrating. And it is in part that this lack of progression that the city has often been called boring and that the job market has been struggling so much in recent years.

15. You Are Going To Have To Deal With Stereotypes

Father and son are standing in their growing wheat field. They are happy because of successful sowing and enjoying sunset.

Another thing that you are going to have to deal with and that will be fairly annoying is the fact that West Virginia has a lot of negative stereotypes. Some of these stereotypes include things like:

  • Everyone is a hillbilly or a redneck
  • There are lots of cousins getting married (kind of like Alabama)
  • You will get some hate because people think West Virginia is part of Virginia. From this, they get of a negative reputation for Virginia’s role in the Civil War.
  • There are no arts and culture from the state

And like most stereotypes, the vast majority of these are false, however, if you are living in West Virginia you are going to have to put up with all of these stereotypes.

16. You Have To Watch Out For Hurricanes

Living along the east coast, even in West Virginia, you are going to get to experience plenty of hurricanes, as you will likely get one or two each year. The hurricane season starts on June 1st and continues until November 30 every year. The east coast gets hit by a hurricane almost every single year.

Because of this, in late May, the National Weather ServiceOpens in a new tab. holds a national hurricane service preparedness week. Along with this, the city of Charleston also has an informational pamphlet that helps prepare the locals for the eventuality of a hurricane. And when Charleston does get hit with a hurricane, the hurricane tends to be fairly large and severe.

17. The City Can Be Very Boring

Along with the city being very isolated, it can be extremely boring. As stated earlier there are a few parks and you have some surrounding nature areas, where you have a variety of places to visit and enjoy, however, after a few months, you are going to run out of activities to do very quickly and then you are going to be out of luck for activities.

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