Today’s West Virginia counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years.

West Virginia Territorial Counties

West Virginia was part of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1863,  in which 50 counties had already been established.

However, the counties of GrantMineralMingoLincoln, and Summers were formed after West Virginia became a state in 1863.

At that time, Berkeley County and Jefferson County, the two easternmost counties of West Virginia, refused to recognize their inclusion in the state. In March 1866, the U.S. Congress passed a mandate saying they were to be in West Virginia.

West Virginia Counties Today

Today, West Virginia is divided into 55 counties. States bordering West Virginia are KentuckyMarylandOhioPennsylvaniaVirginia.

See Virginia For counties earlier than 1863.

West Virginia divides county government powers between seven county offices, each of which is independently elected:

  1. county commission
  2. county clerk
  3. circuit clerk
  4. county sheriff
  5. county assessor
  6. county prosecuting attorney
  7. county surveyor of lands

Fun Facts about West Virginia Counties

Counties by Year

County Size Facts

County Population (2017 Est.) Facts

  • Kanawha County (193,063) is the most populated county in West Virginia.
  • Wirt County (5,717) is the least populated county in West Virginia.

West Virginia City Facts

West Virginia’s 10 largest cities (2014) are:

  1. Charleston (50,404) is in Kanawha County
  2. Huntington (48,807) is in Cabell County
  3. Morgantown (31,073) is in Monongalia County
  4. Parkersburg (30,981) is in Wood County
  5. Wheeling (27,790) is in Ohio County
  6. Weirton (19,362) is in Hancock County
  7. Fairmont (18,740) is in Marion County
  8. Martinsburg (17,743) is in Berkeley County
  9. Beckley (17,238) is in Raleigh County
  10. Clarksburg (16,242) is in Harrison County

Boundary Changes of West Virginia Counties from 1863-1915

This Interactive Map of West Virginia Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from 1863 to 1915.

List of West Virginia Counties

List of Old Former / Extinct West Virginia Counties

West Virginia has no counties that are extinct.

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