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Move Forward

Diversification Key in W.Va.

WalletHub regularly releases the results of nationwide studies in which West Virginia doesn’t exactly come out smelling like roses. In one recent study, the personal finance website found the Mountain State to be the most unhappy state in America, for example.

Following close on its heels, and perhaps relatedly, WalletHub also did a study in which it found West Virginia to be the least diverse state in the nation — ranking dead last in both socioeconomic diversity and cultural diversity. Our state ranked 49th for least economic diversity; 49th for least educational-attainment diversity; 48th for least racial and ethnic diversity; 50th for least language diversity; and 50th for least household-size diversity.

A couple of higher rankings included West Virginia being 4th for most generational diversity and 4th for most occupational diversity.

There is a predictable and (we would hope) very small group of people who probably see no problem with West Virginia being so uniform. But most Mountain State residents understand our very survival depends on diversifying many things: our economy, our educational opportunities … our population. Among the ways we do that is by pushing aside lawmakers who continually bend over backward to make West Virginia seem as unappealing as possible to anyone who might otherwise consider moving or becoming an employer here.

Many of those same lawmakers, who cater to the very worst instincts of some of their constituents and encourage them to believe they have reason to be backward-looking, defensive, afraid and angry, are also guilty of clinging to economic ideals that have not been beneficial to this state for generations. And they know it. But they think it is keeping them comfortable and in office.

Those who truly love this wild, wonderful state and its people know we can only get better by bringing in new blood, new ideas, new employers, new educational opportunities and more. Perhaps when the next election rolls around we will get an opportunity to show some of those politicians actively holding us back that we mean to move forward, without them.

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