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A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Parkersburg, West Virginia

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The location of Parkersburg

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Census Data for Parkersburg ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2015 and it gives Parkersburg a population of 30,991 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Parkersburg a population of 31,492 people.

The city of Parkersburg is located in Wood County. The 2010 Census gave Wood County a population of 86,956 people. This means that Parkersburg had 36.22% of the county's total population, making it Wood's most populous community.

At the same time, West Virginia had a population of 1,852,994 people, meaning that Parkersburg had 1.7% of the total population of West Virginia - making it the state's 3rd most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Parkersburg, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this is called a sampling area (or a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the city.

Things like the population, area and housing for Parkersburg reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Parkersburg might be slightly different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau if you need precision.

The 2010 Census shows that the sample polygon for Parkersburg has a total area of 12.35 square miles [32 km²]. Of this total, 11.82 square miles [30.6 km²] is land, with the balance (4.31%) being water (0.53 square miles [1.4 km²]).

Wood County has a land area of 366.3 square miles [948.6 km²]. At 11.82 square miles [30.6 km²], Parkersburg has 3.23% of the county's total land area.

Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually at the center of the polygon). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:

Lat:   39° 15' 40"   (or 39.26°)             [Map]

Lon:   -81° 32' 36"   (or -81.54°)

More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Population Density ...

Using the population (31,492 people) and land area (11.82 square miles [30.6 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Parkersburg had a population density of 2,549 people per square mile [984 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Parkersburg had a population of 33,099 people and a land area of 11.82 square miles [30.6 km²]. This gives a population density of 2,711 people per square mile [1,046 people/km²]

NOTE: Be aware that when comparing population density between the 2000 and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Parkersburg. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to an incorrect comparison. More information about the nature of these changes can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Parkersburg had 15,562 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 31,492 people, this averages 2.02 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Parkersburg had a land area of 11.82 square miles [30.6 km²]. This translates to 1,259 Housing Units per square mile [486.4 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Parkersburg had 16,100 Housing Units, a population of 33,099 people and a land area of 11.82 square miles [30.6 km²]. This gives a density of 2.06 people per Housing Unit and 1,318 Housing Units per square mile [509 housing units/km²].

NOTE: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2000 and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Parkersburg and you need to be careful when comparing values between the censuses. More information about these differences can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Wood County ...

The community of Parkersburg is located in Wood County and is the County Seat for Wood County.

The county had a population of 86,956 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 31,492 people, Parkersburg represented 36.22% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Parkersburg has a population density of 2,549 people per square mile [984 people/km²], Wood County averages 237.4 people per square mile [91.7 people/km²].

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Wood County.

Population Rings for Parkersburg ...

To help identify the number of people who live in Parkersburg and the surrounding area, we have drawn concentric rings centered on Parkersburg. We counted the number of communities within each ring and summed their populations.<4>

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]448,869-1.3%
10 mi   [16 km]551,834-1.12%
15 mi   [24 km]867,066-1.12%
20 mi   [32 km]1271,681-1.06%
25 mi   [40 km]2077,173-1.07%
30 mi   [48 km]32111,992---

US Census QuickFacts ...

The Census Bureau has created documents containing demographic information called QuickFacts. Although they don't create QuickFacts for all communities, they do have one for Parkersburg. Not only does the QuickFact have details about Parkersburg, it also contains a comparison between Parkersburg and the state of West Virginia.

Click here for the Parkersburg QuickFact (QF-5462140).

The following communities are near Parkersburg and also have Census QuickFacts:

2015 Est.
Since 2010
Belpre (OH)QF-39054246,476+0.54%   NW  
ViennaQF-548350010,573-1.64%   N  
Marietta (OH)QF-394762813,900-1.31%   NE  

For more about neighboring communities, please visit our Nearby Page for Parkersburg. For an expanded list of the communities that are closest to Parkersburg, see our County-by-County Page for Parkersburg.

A Census QuickFact is available for Wood County (QF-39107).

Below are QuickFacts for the counties that border Wood County.

2015 Est.
Since 2010
Athens (OH)QF-3900965,886+1.74%   W  
Meigs (OH)QF-3910523,257-2.16%   SW  
Washington (OH)QF-3916761,112-1.08%   N  
JacksonQF-5403529,237---   S  
PleasantsQF-540737,674+0.91%   NE  
RitchieQF-540859,982-4.47%   E  
WirtQF-541055,880+2.85%   SE  

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Parkersburg, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Parkersburg. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change. If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Area ...

The sampling area (or polygon) given for the 2010 Census is 1.19% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Parkersburg was 12.35 square miles [32 km²]. Of this total, 11.82 square miles [30.6 km²] is land, with the balance (4.31%) being water (0.53 square miles [1.4 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 12.21 square miles [31.6 km²]. Of this total, 11.82 square miles [30.6 km²] is land, with the balance (3.15%) being water (0.39 square miles [1 km²]).

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Parkersburg, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Parkersburg.

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   39.261353°   (or 39°15'40" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.543376°   (or -81°32'36" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   39.266175°   (or 39°15'58" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.542139°   (or -81°32'31" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 1,792 feet to the south<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#2390632) to Parkersburg. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Parkersburg. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   39.262119°   (or 39°15'43" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.541662°   (or -81°32'29" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 558 feet to the southwest<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Parkersburg. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Parkersburg.

Miscellaneous Information for Parkersburg ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has referenced one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Wood County or the city of Parkersburg:

The GNIS Codes ...

The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Parkersburg:

GNIS ID for Parkersburg: 2390632

GNIS ID for Wood County: 1560558

GNIS ID for West Virginia: 1779805

The FIPS Codes ...

An earlier (and largely obsolete) identification method was called the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS):

State Code: 54 (West Virginia)

County Code: 107 (Wood County)

Place Code: 62140 (Parkersburg)

State & County Code: 54/107 (West Virginia / Wood County)

State & Place Code: 54/62140 (West Virginia / Parkersburg)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Parkersburg is located in Census Region #3 (the South Region) and Division #5 (the South Atlantic Division).

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Parkersburg.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a Community in West Virginia

About Wood County

About West Virginia

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The official website for Parkersburg:

The official website for Wood County:

The official website for State of West Virginia:

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2015.

- Return to Citation

<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.

- Return to Citation

<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).

- Return to Citation

<4>The communities in our count are those provided by the 2010 Census, so keep in mind that our population rings will only include the people living in those communities. Smaller communities usually don't participate directly in the Census and therefore they won't be included. While our count is a close approximation, it shouldn't be considered as a complete or accurate count.

- Return to Citation

<5>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the 2010 Census location is 168 degrees.

- Return to Citation

<6>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the GNIS point is 119 degrees.

- Return to Citation

For additional information, please visit our Glossary for Parkersburg.


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This page was last modified: 09 Jun 2017
By John Hall