Parts of Appalachia are bleeding population; the 2015 U.S. Census showed West Virginia was losing population faster than any other state. There’s a palpable struggle to leave, but also to stay in these hills.
In April of 2017, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s podcast, Inside Appalachia, launched a series of stories called “The Struggle to Stay”. Reporters have spent about a year following the lives of 6 individuals as they decide if they will stay or leave home - and how they survive either way.
As people watch friends and neighbors move away, some want to join them, but can't afford it. Others feel obligated to stay. Some are compelled to remain in Appalachia with dreams of turning their region into one that's economically and culturally vibrant, while proving its value to the rest of the country.