MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - A recent study from WalletHub found West Virginia to be the worst state for millenials.
As an increasing number of young people leave the state, 5 News wondered what college students thought of the study.
"I can't stay here any longer," said Audrey Biega, a life long resident of the Mountain State and WVU senior. "There are not many promising prospects for me."
Citing a stifling economy, Biega hopes there will be more job opportunities in her field of biology outside the state.
"The harsh reality is if you want to stay in a state like this, you really need to do something that matters, like some sort of engineering," advised Tyler Simpson, a 25-year-old graduate student.
According to recent projections from the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research, by 2020, nearly one in four residents in the state will be at least 65 years old.
And as the population of young people declines, Simpson sees an opportunity in their absence.
"I'm personally staying, but I feel like I might be part of a minority doing that," Simpson said. "I think it's a really untouched market because a lot of people do leave."
But Biega's made up her mind. Her parting advice to state officials: diversify the economy.
"[Coal's] really crucial to West Virginia's identity," Biega admitted. "However, we can't stay with it."
Others think West Virginia just gets a bad wrap, and that it's incumbent upon young people to seek existing opportunities. That's what one Morgantown resident told us. He falls into the millennial age group and thinks the state is a fine place to live for young people. That conversation is in the video above.
We also reached out to WorkForce West Virginia. We asked a representative how they can encourage millennials to stay within the state. Their response reads as follows:
"WorkForce West Virginia provides students access to the state's largest online database of job opportunities. WorkForce West Virginia maintains 17 offices throughout the state. Staff is available to assist students by exploring local job opportunities, making referrals to job openings and providing information about post high school educational opportunities. Persons seeking employment in West Virginia are encouraged to apply by visiting one of our offices or our website www.workforcewv.org/job-seekers."