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Salem, West Virginia
(Harrison County)

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Census Data for Salem ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2017 and it gives Salem a population of 1,492 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Salem a population of 1,586 people.

The city of Salem is located in Harrison County. The 2010 Census gave Harrison County a population of 69,099 people. This means that Salem had 2.3% of the county's total population, making it Harrison's 6th most populous community.

At the same time, West Virginia had a population of 1,852,994 people, meaning that Salem had 0.09% of the total population of West Virginia - making it the state's 73rd most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Salem, 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 Salem reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Salem 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 Salem has a total area of 1.34 square miles [3.5 km²].

Harrison County has a land area of 416 square miles [1,077.5 km²]. At 1.34 square miles [3.5 km²], Salem has 0.32% 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° 17' 5"   (or 39.28°)             [Map]

Lon:   -80° 33' 52"   (or -80.56°)

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 (1,586 people) and land area (1.34 square miles [3.5 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Salem had a population density of 1,185 people per square mile [457.7 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Salem had a population of 2,006 people and a land area of 1.38 square miles [3.6 km²]. This gives a population density of 1,450 people per square mile [560 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 Salem. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to a misleading comparison. More information about these differences can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Salem had 834 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 1,586 people, this averages 1.9 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Salem had a land area of 1.34 square miles [3.5 km²]. This translates to 623 Housing Units per square mile [240.7 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Salem had 858 Housing Units, a population of 2,006 people and a land area of 1.38 square miles [3.6 km²]. This gives a density of 2.34 people per Housing Unit and 620 Housing Units per square mile [239.6 housing units/km²].

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

Harrison County ...

The community of Salem is located in Harrison County.

The county had a population of 69,099 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 1,586 people, Salem represented 2.3% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Salem has a population density of 1,185 people per square mile [457.7 people/km²], Harrison County averages 166.1 people per square mile [64.1 people/km²].

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

Population Rings for Salem ...

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

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]11,492-5.93%
10 mi   [16 km]22,101-5.19%
15 mi   [24 km]1124,447-4.93%
20 mi   [32 km]1841,973-2.49%
25 mi   [40 km]2750,852-2.23%
30 mi   [48 km]4498,688-2.01%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Salem, 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 Salem. 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 3.22% smaller than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Salem was 1.34 square miles [3.5 km²]. Of this total, only a minor amount of the area is covered by water.

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 1.38 square miles [3.6 km²]. Of this total, only a minor amount of the area is covered by water.

Location ...

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

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   39.284940°   (or 39°17'5" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -80.564480°   (or -80°33'52" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   39.283411°   (or 39°17'0" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -80.562731°   (or -80°33'45" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 744 feet to the northwest<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 (#2390648) to Salem. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Salem. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   39.285036°   (or 39°17'6" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -80.564019°   (or -80°33'50" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 134.7 feet to the west<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Salem. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Salem.

Miscellaneous Information for Salem ...

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 Harrison County or the city of Salem:

The GNIS Codes ...

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

GNIS ID for Salem: 2390648

GNIS ID for Harrison County: 1718426

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: 033 (Harrison County)

Place Code: 71380 (Salem)

State & County Code: 54/033 (West Virginia / Harrison County)

State & Place Code: 54/71380 (West Virginia / Salem)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Salem 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 Salem.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Communities in West Virginia

About Harrison County

About West Virginia

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for Salem. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

The official website for Harrison County:

The official website for State of West Virginia:

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

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

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 2017.

- 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 angle) to the 2010 Census location is 41 degrees and a distance of 744 feet.

- Return to Citation

<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 105 degrees and a distance of 134.7 feet.

- Return to Citation


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This page was last modified: 13 Nov 2018
By John Hall