WalletHub regularly publishes the results of national studies in which West Virginia doesn’t exactly smell of roses. In a recent study, the Personal Finance website found the Mountain State to be the most miserable state in America, for example.
Closely following, and perhaps in a related fashion, WalletHub also conducted a study in which it found West Virginia to be the least diverse state in the country, ranking last in socio-economic diversity. and cultural. Our state ranked 49th in economic diversity to say the least; 49th for the lowest diversity of educational attainment; 48th to say the least of racial and ethnic diversity; 50th for the least linguistic diversity; and 50th for the smallest diversity of household size.
A few higher rankings included West Virginia 4th for most generational diversity and 4th for most occupational diversity.
There is a predictable and (hopefully) very small group of people who probably don’t have a problem with West Virginia being so uniform. But most people in the Mountain State understand that our very survival depends on the diversification of many things: our economy, our educational opportunities… our people. One of the ways we do this is to weed out lawmakers who continually go out of their way to make West Virginia seem as unappealing as possible to anyone who might otherwise be considering moving or becoming an employer here.
Many of those same lawmakers, who respond to the worst instincts of some of their constituents and encourage them to believe they have reason to be backward-looking, defensive, scared and angry, are also guilty of holding onto economic ideals that have not benefited this state for generations. And they know it. But they think it keeps them comfortable and in the office.
Those who truly love this wild and wonderful state and its people know that we can only improve ourselves by bringing in new blood, new ideas, new employers, new educational opportunities and more. Maybe when the next election takes place we will have the opportunity to show some of these politicians who are actively holding us back that we intend to move forward, without them.