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Welch, West Virginia

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The location of Welch

Census Data for Welch ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2017 and it gave Welch a population of 1,740 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, which gave Welch a population of 2,406 people.

The city of Welch is located in McDowell County. The 2010 Census gave McDowell County a population of 22,113 people. This means that Welch had 10.88% of the county's total population, making it McDowell's most populous community.

At the same time, West Virginia had a population of 1,852,994 people, meaning that Welch had 0.13% of the total population of West Virginia - making it the state's 55th most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Welch, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this defines the sampling area (usually shaped as 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 Welch reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Welch might be different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau to resolve any difference between the two.

The 2010 Census shows that the sampling area for Welch has a total area of 6.04 square miles [15.6 km²]. Of this total, a small amount of the area is covered by water (0.03 square miles [0.1 km²]).

McDowell County has a land area of 533 square miles [1,381.6 km²]. At 6.01 square miles [15.6 km²], Welch has 1.13% 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 the center of the polygon, known as the centroid). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:

Lat:   37° 25' 40"   (or 37.43°)             [Map]

Lon:   -81° 35' 29"   (or -81.59°)

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 (2,406 people) and land area (6.01 square miles [15.6 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Welch had a population density of 398.5 people per square mile [153.9 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Welch had a population of 2,683 people and a land area of 3.27 square miles [8.5 km²]. This gives a population density of 821 people per square mile [317 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 Welch. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to a questionable comparison. More information about the nature of these differences can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Welch had 1,265 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 2,406 people, this averages 1.9 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Welch had a land area of 6.01 square miles [15.6 km²]. This translates to 209.5 Housing Units per square mile [80.9 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Welch had 1,453 Housing Units, a population of 2,683 people and a land area of 3.27 square miles [8.5 km²]. This gives a density of 1.85 people per Housing Unit and 444.7 Housing Units per square mile [171.7 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 Welch and you need to be careful when comparing between the censuses. More information about these differences can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

McDowell County ...

The city of Welch is located in McDowell County and is the County Seat for McDowell County.

The county had a population of 22,113 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 2,406 people, Welch represented 10.88% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Welch has a population density of 398.5 people per square mile [153.9 people/km²], McDowell County averages 41.45 people per square mile [16 people/km²].

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

Population Rings for Welch ...

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

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]43,085-22.64%
10 mi   [16 km]95,179-19.77%
15 mi   [24 km]137,451-17.6%
20 mi   [32 km]189,817-15.73%
25 mi   [40 km]2431,262-10.67%
30 mi   [48 km]3046,221-10.23%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Welch, 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 Welch. 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 84.75% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Welch was 6.04 square miles [15.6 km²]. Of this total, only a minor amount of the area is covered by water.

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 3.27 square miles [8.5 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 Welch, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Welch.

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   37.428054°   (or 37°25'40" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.591427°   (or -81°35'29" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   37.437323°   (or 37°26'14" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.579002°   (or -81°34'44" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 4,935 feet to the southwest<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 (#2390667) to Welch. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Welch. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   37.432872°   (or 37°25'58" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.580261°   (or -81°34'48" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 3,679 feet to the southwest<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Welch. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Welch.

Miscellaneous Information for Welch ...

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

The GNIS Codes ...

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

GNIS ID for Welch: 2390667

GNIS ID for McDowell County: 1689162

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: 047 (McDowell County)

Place Code: 85228 (Welch)

State & County Code: 54/047 (West Virginia / McDowell County)

State & Place Code: 54/85228 (West Virginia / Welch)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Welch 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 Welch.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a West Virginia Community

About McDowell 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 Welch. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

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.

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<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.

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<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 133 degrees and a distance of 4,935 feet.

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<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 118 degrees and a distance of 3,679 feet.

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This page was last modified: 19 Jan 2019