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Maryland feeds Berkeley County population growth

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Berkeley and Monongalia counties may have had the most growth in recent years, but to look at where in West Virginia people are moving from one place to another, start in the Kanawha Valley.

The Census Bureau released its five-year estimates of county-to-county migration for 2007-11 on Feb. 6. The most movement involving West Virginia counties was between Kanawha and Putnam counties, where the Census Bureau estimated 1,891 people had moved from one to the other.

Putnam County won that exchange, gaining 161 people from Kanawha County.

Next were Washington County, Ohio, and Wood County, with Wood County noticing a net gain of 245 people from Washington County.

In recent years, Cabell County has had a net loss of people to unincorporated areas across the Ohio River in Lawrence County, Ohio, but the end of utility expansion on the Ohio side appears to have reversed the migration flow. According to Census Bureau estimates, Cabell County gained 202 people from Lawrence County in the five-year period.

The numbers are similar to those formerly compiled and released by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS based its numbers on counties listed on taxpayers' personal returns.

The largest net gain in the West Virginia numbers was for Berkeley County, which gained 634 people from Washington County, Md. That was the same net gain Raleigh County had from people moving there from Fayette County.

Most of Berkeley County's gains came from Washington County, Frederick County, Baltimore city and Montgomery County, all in Maryland, although it did see a large number move in from Hardy County, too. Berkeley had its largest net losses to Calvert County, Md., and Broadwater County, Mont.

Monongalia County saw its largest net gains from Marion, Raleigh and Wood counties and its largest net losses to Preston County and to Kern County, Calif.

McDowell County, known in West Virginia for its struggles to maintain its population, saw small net gains from Cabarrus and Rowan counties in North Carolina and from Mingo County. Its largest net losses were to Mercer County and to DeKalb County, Ga.