ROANOKE, Va. — A new study has found the population of nearly every locality in the coalfields of southwest Virginia is expected to decline over the next two decades.

According to the latest projections from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Buchanan County is projected to be the state’s fastest-shrinking locality between 2020 and 2040.

The Roanoke Times reports Lee County was the only coalfields locality projected to increase its population during that time frame. Even there, population growth is expected to be slow.

Overall, the study found most of Virginia’s projected growth would occur in and around cities, with rural areas experiencing slow growth or none at all.

Information from: The Roanoke Times,

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