West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the US, with the eastern section of the state being one of the lowest. Few people travel there because it has little to offer, yet living off grid in West Virginia can be fantastic. West Virginia’s population is currently around 1.8 million, and it is essentially stable, neither expanding nor diminishing. This is one of the smallest states in the country, having no cities with populations above 100,000.
Living off grid in legal in West Virginia, and it is perhaps one of the best places. Property prices are around 60% lower than the national average, property taxes are low, and living costs are equally low. On the other hand, the state does not offer any statewide renewable energy incentives, but you can still qualify for the federal tax credit. The unemployment rate is relatively high, and you may have difficulty finding work in certain professions.
General Statistics for Living Off Grid in West Virginia
Most people in West Virginia live in rural villages or hollows, as they’re known locally. Many residents live off grid in West Virginia is well. Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, and Parkersburg are the largest cities in West Virginia, with populations of 48, 47, 32, and 30,000. The few people who decide to relocate here tend to do so to smaller towns and rural areas. The state’s economy is incredibly weak, making it one of the poorest states in the US. This is one of the key reasons West Virginia is not attracting new residents.
Because so many people live in poverty, the government cannot raise enough revenue through taxes to maintain infrastructure and provide education. The school system may appear to be outstanding at first look, as the graduation rate is around 90%, which is exceptionally high; however, the truth is that the local authorities are just decreasing the graduation standards. You would assume that decreasing the graduation requirement isn’t a big deal, but the difficulty arises when these folks try to find work, or even worse, try to find work outside of the state.
West Virginia has a major problem with road maintenance due to its low economy; there are numerous potholes. The state of the roads in the major cities is improved, but that isn’t saying much. People in West Virginia are known for their love of nature, and little communities can be found flourishing in the middle of nowhere. Most people live a more or less self-sufficient existence, and many homes have vegetable gardens. Check out my previous article on Off Grid Living in Washington State if you’re seeking a state with a stronger economy.
What’s the Climate in West Virginia?
West Virginia has a humid subtropical climate, which implies that it is hot in the summer and frigid in the winter. During the summer, the average temperature is around 70°F, with highs of 87°F. The average temperature in the winter is around 25°F, though there is a significant temperature change between night and day, both in the summer and winter, due to the high humidity.
Check out my rating for West Virginia’s neighbor, Virginia.
What Are the Best Types of Crops to Grow in West Virginia
When it comes to cultivating crops in West Virginia, you have a lot of alternatives. You can grow corn for grain, soybeans, tobacco, wheat, and hay. In truth, West Virginia produces a lot of hay, some of which is exported and some utilized to feed cattle in the state. You’ll be able to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in West Virginia; in fact, the state produces a lot of peaches but is not as well-known for them as Georgia. Check out my previous article about Utah if you prefer to raise livestock instead of crops.
What’s Freshwater Availability Like in West Virginia?
West Virginia has no fresh water shortages due to its geographic location; there is enough water for everyone. In some neighborhoods, practically every home has a well, while in others, water tanks and cisterns are used to store rainfall. The average annual rainfall of West Virginia is roughly 44 inches, and the average annual rainfall in the higher-elevation regions is around 56 inches.
What Kind of Animals are in West Virginia?
Despite being a tiny state, West Virginia boasts a rich wildlife population, including white-tailed deer, groundhogs, weasels, opossum, gray and red foxes, squirrels, and bats. Hybrid striped bass, trout, largemouth bass, crappies, smallmouth bass, and muskellunge may all be found nearby rivers and lakes. Both fishing and hunting require a license, which may be obtained on the online site.
How to Generate Off Grid Power in West Virginia?
Solar energy: Because West Virginia is primarily a mining state, local governments do not provide any incentives for renewable energy. However, if you wish to install a solar power system, you can still apply for a 30 percent federal tax credit or investment credit.
Wind power: Wind energy has no statewide incentives, but you can still use the federal tax credit.
Does Living Off Grid in West Virginia Have any Laws?
There are no restrictions forbidding you from living off grid in West Virginia. You can also legally catch rainwater. However, you will almost certainly need to install a septic tank system. If you have children, you should probably homeschool them because the local educational system is quite poor, homeschooling rules are rather permissive, and many families homeschool their children in this state.
What’s Road Access Like in West Virginia?
Because West Virginia is a tiny state, there are many roadways; nevertheless, the condition of those roads is a concern because local governments do not have enough money to maintain the local infrastructure. Potholes abound, and it’s not uncommon for the government to fill up a pothole just to have it destroyed a few months later.
What’s the Price of Off Grid Land in West Virginia?
The negative features, such as significant poverty and high unemployment rates, are turned into cheap real estate in this area. If you have some money set aside, you will have no trouble finding adequate land for building your homestead and growing the crops you choose because the cost of land and housing in West Virginia is roughly 60% less than the national average. In reality, there are numerous farm properties available in this state.
What’s the Property Tax in West Virginia?
West Virginia’s property tax rate is 0.59 percent, far below the national average of 1.08 percent. The property tax is essentially non-existent due to the low cost of housing and property, while most of the surrounding states have either a higher property tax, a greater cost of housing, or both.
What’s the Cost of Living Off Grid in West Virginia?
The cost of living is about 22% lower than the national average, with housing costing 60% less, utilities 15% less, transportation 10% less, and consumables costing roughly 5% less. On the other hand, healthcare services will cost about 6% higher, even though West Virginia’s healthcare system is horrible.
What’s the Job Market in West Virginia?
West Virginia’s unemployment rate is 4.8 percent and is progressively declining; it is currently higher than the national average of 4.2 percent. The biggest issue with the local economy is that West Virginia used to be a mining state that produced a lot of coal. Many coal mines have closed due to poor demand in recent years. Even the few remaining coal mines that are still operational do not require many workers.
Even though the local economy is in horrible health, the minimum pay is higher than the national average; the minimum wage is currently $8.75, while the national average is $7.25. Mining, agricultural, manufacturing, chemical, and biotech industries are the largest industries in which most people work.
What’s the Crime Rate in West Virginia?
West Virginia has a lower crime rate than the national average, which is expected given the lack of major cities. The local crime rate is around 2.95 per 1000 people, while the national average is 4 per 1000 people. Apple Grove, Matoaka, Northfork, Anawalt, and Henderson are the safest places. Moorefield, Buckhannon, Morgantown, Charleston, and Martinsburg are the cities with the highest crime rates.
Interested in a state with better infrastructure, job market, and crime rate? I recommend reading my guide on Off Grid Living in South Carolina.
Is Living Off Grid in West Virginia Affected by Natural Disasters?
Natural disasters have all struck West Virginia, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, blizzards, and winter storms. West Virginia is a relatively secure state because natural disasters are uncommon; the most common risks are floods, blizzards, and storms.
Is Living Off Grid in West Virginia Possible?
Overall, living off grid in West Virginia is definitely doable. In my opinion, West Virginia is one of the best state for homesteading. It has a low crime rate, cheap taxes, and a low cost of living. These are all desirable qualities in an off grid state. When you consider the local infrastructure, poor health, and education systems, the cheap taxes become evident. In all honesty, you’ll probably be better off homeschooling your children.