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Community Profile 2013


This Community Profile is based on the most recent available statistical data compiled from secondary data sets as well as responses to a community survey from 801 people familiar with local conditions in Marshall County.

January, 2014

Research and Report by: Steven Heasley, M A | Heasley Consulting Services


Marshall County is located in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. The latest population estimate by the US Census Bureau (2012) for Marshall County is 32,867 persons. There was a 7% decline in population between 2000 and 2010; however the population appears to have stabilized in recent years. Based on the most recent available statistics[i], 5.2% of the population is under the age of 5 yrs. and 21.5% is under 18 yrs. of age.  17.9% of the population is 65 yrs. of age or older – There was an increase of 1.3% in the elderly population during the decade between 2000 and 2010 and the portion of the population over age 65 yrs. continues to rise. There are 13,869 households in Marshall County and 9,359 families.[ii] The population is 98% White.

The updated Community Profile provides measures of current community conditions and local capacity within Marshall County. An additional report on the findings from a community survey completed by residents of Marshall County during the latter part of 2013 has been provided to supplement the statistics and other indicators provided within this most recent Community Profile Report.

Local planning and development groups may wish to examine some of the issues raised by the profile that are relevant to specific local goals in more detail. Local knowledge and information available to local community and neighborhood groups should also be considered when examining issues outlined in the Community Profile.

Statistics and other information presented within the Community Profile describe local conditions and community capacities for Marshall County as a whole; however, local leaders should be aware that a statistical portrait reflecting overall county conditions may not necessarily accurately describe the situation in smaller towns and cities located within Marshall County. Conditions and quality of life issues may vary from one location to another within the county.

A similar profile of local community conditions and capacities was developed in 2008 and the indicators cited in the current profile are compared when possible to the statistical data describing local conditions in Marshall County in 2008 in order to provide measures of local progress in improving community conditions over the past five years.

The current Community Profile reflects the most recent available data for Marshall County and information provided is drawn from a number of different secondary data sets. Since statistical data is updated by different agencies and organizations at different times, many of the measures available are lagging indicators reflecting conditions during the period 2010- 2013.

Community Capacity and Types of Capital

Community Capacity may be defined as the level of resources, assets, human capital, and social capital available to a group of people (a community) to achieve the results they want and care about.

“Community capacity is what makes well-functioning communities function well” – (Chaskin, 2001)

“Community capacity, in a general sense, is what makes communities work. It is what makes well-functioning communities function well.” (Chaskin, et.al., 2001). Capacity may be found in local people, in the strength of the relationships among people, in civic enterprises, in local institutions, in the value of property and buildings, in financial investment, and in the quality of the environment.

Sufficient levels of community capacity are necessary prerequisites for successful community development. Current levels of community capacity can be measured and additional capacity can be built.

The Updated Community Profile is organized around the same seven capacity domains that were used to define the 2008 profile developed for Marshall County (see Appendix B – Framework for Assessing Community Conditions and Local Capacity). A domain of capacity may be thought of as a significant area of influence that affects the ability of a community to get things done. Capacity includes assets present within the local area which may also be thought of as “Capital”. Five types of community capital are important:

·         Financial capital,

·         Human capital (includes two domains – Health and Well-being and Knowledge Skills and Abilities of local residents) ,

·         Social capital (includes two domains – Relationships and Interpersonal Communications and Community Initiative Responsibility and Adaptability.

·         Cultural capital, and

·         Environmental capital.

All five types of capital are defined through various local resources that can be drawn upon to improve community conditions.

Human Capital in Marshall County

Human Capital includes the health and well-being of local residents as well as theknowledge skills and abilities of local people. There are a number of good indicators available within secondary data sets that can be used to measure health and well-being. The measures of local health and well-being discussed here are reflective of Marshall County and not necessarily descriptive of every individual local community within the county.

Health and Well Being of Local People

Healthy People

Five key measures of health were compiled for county residents. These measures include health insurance status, adult obesity, exercise, smoking, and low birth weight. The most current measure of the rate of adult obesity which is defined as significantly exceeding recommended healthy weight is 29.0% of the adult population in Marshall County. The number of adults without health insurance in Marshall is 22.3% (2007-11).[i] The percentage of adults reporting they get no leisure exercise is 31.4% and the percentage of adults who smoke is 24.1%. The percentage of low birth weight babies born in Marshall County is 9.3% based on the 2007-11 Behavioral Risk Factors Survey estimates.[ii] When compared to the Indicators of healthy people compiled in the 2008 community profile, health status appears to have declined within Marshall County. Chart 1 provides a comparison of the 2005 measures with those in 2011.  With the exception of the smoking rate among adults, all four of the other indicators examined have gotten worse in recent years.

Chart 1 | Click for larger view.

Obesity and low birth weight are both significant risk factors for chronic health problems and the increasing rate in recent years of these indicators should be of concern to county residents. The percentage of adults with no health insurance coverage has increased since the 2008 profile was compiled; however, the recent implementation of the Affordable Care Act should significantly lower the percentage of uninsured adults in future years.

Community Safety

A key measure of community safety is the crime rate. The rate of crime appears to have increased in Marshall County since the 2008 profile was developed for both property crime and violent crime. In 2012 the rate of violent crime in the county was 2.14 crimes per 1,000 population and the rate of property crime was 25.86 crimes per 1,000 population.[i] Both of these measures indicate an increasing trend in crime within the county since 2008. See Chart 2.

Chart 2 | Click for larger view.
Chart 2 | Click for larger view.

In 2013, there were sixty-two sex offenders with a Marshall County address listed in the WV Sex Offender Registry. This is a current rate of 1.88 offenders per 1,000 population. The number of registered sex offenders has increased since 2008 when the rate was 1.24 offenders per 1,000 population.

Although Marshall County remains a relatively safe place to live as compared to state and national statistics, there does appear to be an increasing rate of criminal activity over the past five years.

Economic Security

One of the most important elements of family and individual well-being is economic security. Unemployment, low incomes, poverty, and a general lack of financial resources place families under severe stress that often leads to other problems.

Chart 3 | Click for larger view.
Chart 3 | Click for larger view.

The average annual unemployment rate in Marshall County for 2013 was 8.3%. This is higher than the average rate at the time of the previous community profile in 2008 which was 5.0%.[i].

The per capita income from wages in 2012 was $24,460 – a 38% increase over the past five years. The rate of inflation over the five year period has been 8.25%; thus per capita income appears to have increased in constant dollars.

Chart 4 | Click for larger view.
Chart 4 | Click for larger view.

10.2% of all families residing in Marshall County in 2012 had family incomes below the federal poverty level. This is a lower rate than was reflected in the 2008 profile when 12.8% of all families were below the FPL. The rate of poverty among families with children has, however, increased slightly over the five year period from 19.4% in 2007 to 20.1% in 2012.[i]

Housing Market Conditions

Housing has become a particular area of concern in Marshall County over the past few years due to an influx of Marcellus Shale gas field workers.

Chart 5 | Click for larger view.
Chart 5 | Click for larger view.

34% of the available housing in Marshall County was built prior to 1950 and only 6.5% has been built since 2000.

77.2% of the housing in Marshall County is owner occupied and 22.3% is renter occupied.[i]

The median value of owner occupied housing in the county has increased from $75,500 in 2007 to $83,700 in 2012 – an apparent 10.9% increase. Adjusted for inflation, however, there has been no increase in the median value of housing over the five year period. In constant dollars the median housing value has increased only $98 or one-tenth of one percent. In 2012, 61.4% of owner occupied housing in Marshall County was valued at under $100,000.

Median gross rent has increased over the period from $449 to $498 – a 10.9% increase which is just below the rate of inflation over the period.

In 2007 14.4% of households with a mortgage experienced a “cost burden” related to housing costs as defined by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Chart 6 | Click for larger view.
Chart 6 | Click for larger view.

A “cost burden” is defined by HUD as paying more than 30% of household income for housing.  Over the past five years the percentage of households with a housing cost burden has increased rather dramatically to 21.2%.

Renters in the county experience an even higher rate of cost burden. In 2012, 36.0% of Marshall County renters were cost burdened – an increase from the 2007 rate of 31.7%.[i]The increase in the number of households experiencing “housing cost burden” in recent years is an indication of an increasingly difficult housing market within the county.

Based on responses to the 2013 community survey, community perception about the health and well-being of local people is slightly less favorable than was the case in 2008. Survey results are consistent with the secondary data indicators available in that local residents tend to see community safety as a relative strength while economic security, health and physical fitness, and housing are seen as challenges.  See the separate report titled Community Needs and Capacities in Marshall County, December 31, 2013.

Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities of Local People

Indicator areas related to using and enhancing skills, knowledge and abilities of local people, citizen engagement, and local decision making are included in this domain. Information is available in existing data sets related to school readiness and educational attainment but good data to measure citizen engagement and decision making is limited. The perception of Marshall County residents as reflected in the results of the capacity survey will be used to supplement the data available through secondary data sets.

Early Childhood Education

Research studies over extended periods of time[ii] have documented the link between early childhood development and future success in school and later life. The percentage of kindergarten children enrolled in public preschool programs is a good predictor of skill acquisition in future years. Enrollment in preschool education programs for four year olds has increased steadily over the past five years. At the time of the last community profile in 2008, preschool enrollment as a percentage of the following year’s kindergarten enrollment in Marshall County was 54.3%. Enrollment of four year olds in public preschool programs has increased to 72.9% for the 2012-13 school year. [iii]

The increasing trend in providing early childhood education is likely to increase human capital in the county over the long term.

Educational Attainment and Access

Success in school may be measured by looking at several key indicators of continued education and achievement in the public schools. Measures selected for the profile include graduation rates, education levels of the general population, and students taking the college entrance examinations upon graduation from High School. All of these indicators appear to be trending upward over the past five years. The 4 year cohort high school graduation rate was 83.5% in 2008 and this has increased to 84.14% in 2012.  In 2008, 83.7% of the residents of Marshall County 25 years of age or older had completed high school and this rate has increased to 88.7% in 2012.

Chart 7 | Click for larger view.
Chart 7 | Click for larger view.

Only 11.7% of county residents over the age of 25 years had obtained a college degree in 2008 but this has increased notably to 15.5% in 2012.[i]

More young people in Marshall County also appear to be going on to college than was the case five years ago. One measure of the college going rate is the percentage of high school graduates who take college entrance exams. In 2008, only 46.5% of Marshall County high school graduates took the ACT college entrance exam; the percentage of students taking the ACT test in 2012 has increased to 54.0%.[ii] ACT composite test scores have also increased in recent years from a score of 20.4 by the 2005-06 graduating class to 21.0 for the 2010-11 class.

Information about how people actually use and enhance their skills at the local level is not available through any data sets currently compiled. Participation of local residents in training programs related to leadership development, strategic planning, community development, etc. would be good measures and some such information may be available locally. The level of participation on local boards, task teams, work teams, etc. is another such measure that might be examined locally. Other useful measures of this domain where information may already be known to local citizens or where information could be collected locally might be participation of citizens in community meetings or observations about how local government or town meetings are conducted.

Based on responses to the 2013 community survey, community capacity related to skills knowledge and abilities of local people increased slightly between 2008 and 2013. The community survey identified Universal Pre-K services and public education programs as strengths while local opportunities for adults to improve skills is seen as a challenge. See the separate report titled Community Needs and Capacities in Marshall County, December 31, 2013.

 “Although some…continue to believe that healthy economies create vibrant communities, in fact, the reverse is more often the case. A strong community is a prerequisite for creating a healthy economy because it alone produces social trust.”

–       Jeremy Rifkin, 2000

Social Capital in Marshall County

Two domains of community capacity make up social capital – Relationships and Interpersonal Communications and Community Initiative Responsibility and Adaptability.

These domains address levels of shared values, trust, connectedness, participation, collective vision, leadership planning, and sense of hope in the community. Unfortunately, there are currently few if any sources of local data in existing state or national data sets that effectively measure these important components of community capacity.

One measure that may provide some insight into how young people may be building social capital in the area was secured from school survey data. School age children and youth in Marshall County were asked if they participate in community activities such as scouts, sports teams, youth clubs, etc. In 2008, 34.0% of Marshall County students reported participation in such activities. Participation in community activities by students participating in the Pride Survey increased to 35.9% in 2012. With the exception of this one measure of community engagement, there is little information about the level of social capital in local communities to draw upon. We can, however, gain some insight into this domain of local capacity through the perceptions of local residents responding to 2013 community survey.

61% of the survey respondents believe “people trust their neighbors to do what’s best for the common good but less than half (48%) think “people believe local officials generally act in the best interests of the community at large”.When asked if people in the community work well together and listen to all points of view, only 37% of those who offered an opinion indicated they thought people worked well together.

Another indicator of social capital from the community survey addresses beliefs about willingness to help with community projects. Although 78% of those responding think people in their community believe “if we want to get something done we need to roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves”, less than half (41%) of the respondents indicated they thought people were “willing to help if something needs to get done in their community”. About half (49%) of those responding thought “lots of people from different parts of the community volunteer their time to help with community projects”. These survey responses tend to indicate that additional social capital needs to be built within the county. See the separate report titled Community Needs and Capacities in Marshall County, December 31, 2013.

Cultural Capital in Marshall County

Cultural Diversity and Quality of Life

This is another domain where existing secondary data sets provide limited useful information. A few indicators of cultural diversity are available, however.

The population of Marshall County reflects little racial and ethnic diversity. Census data records the population of the county as 98.0% White.[iii]

There are three museums or art galleries are located in Marshall County and the county has four libraries. Earnings from employment in the Arts, Entertainment, or Recreation business sector has increased over the past five years. In 2008 total earnings from employment in that sector of the economy within Marshall County amounted to $1,872,000 but that has increased to $2,650,000 in 2012. Although the total earnings from this sector increased, the relative portion of local earnings from Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation related services has remained the same since the previous profile was developed in 2008 at about 1/3 of 1% (0.33%) of total earnings from employment.[iv]

The relatively low crime rate previously addressed in the profile as a safety issue is also a quality of life issue as are issues related to clean air and water that will be discussed under the heading of environmental capital.

Those persons responding to the community survey tend to see cultural enrichment opportunities as lacking within the county.  Only about one in three (35%) of those persons expressing an opinion through the community survey, thought community residents “have local opportunities to enrich their lives through music and the arts”. See the separate report titled Community Needs and Capacities in Marshall County, December 31, 2013.

Financial and Manufactured Capital in Marshall County

Investments in Community and Financial Resources

Financial Investments

Data obtained from the WV Secretary of State Business Organization Information System indicates that 14.6% of the active for-profit businesses in Marshall County were registered in 2012. In 2007 the percentage of business start-ups was 7.8%; thus, the level of new business activity in Marshall County appears to be greater in 2012 than was the case when the previous community profile was compiled. It is somewhat difficult to interpret this measure without specific knowledge of the local community since some new business startups could be a result of other business failures; however, there has also been a notable increase in the total of registered for-profit businesses located in the county. In 2007 there were 256 active for-profit businesses registered and by 2012 that number had increased to 472 businesses. The available data tends to indicate increasing levels of new business activity in the county.[v]

Local Financial Resources

One measure of local financial resources is the total deposits in local commercial banks. In 2010 ( the most current data available),  there was $398 million in deposits – an increase of $86 million over the five year period since 2005. Per Capita deposits (average deposits per county resident) in Marshall County financial institutions in 2010 amounted to $12,109 – a 30% increase in per capita deposits as compared to 2005.[vi]

Chart 8 | Click for larger view.
Chart 8 | Click for larger view.

Another measure of local financial resources is the average wage per job. The average wage per job appears to have increased in recent years from $29,926 in 2007 to $36,812 in 2012.[i] The median family income in Marshall County was $49,060 in 2012 which is notably higher than in 2007 ($38,277).[ii]


Access to Outside Financial Resources

One measure of federal investment in the county is federal transfer receipts. These federal payments are made to individuals for unemployment benefits, retirement, social security, disability payments, and other forms of payment not attributable to earnings from work. The “federal personal transfer receipts” for 2007 averaged $6,707 for each person in the county (per-capita receipts) and per capita transfer receipts increased to $8,594 by 2012.[iii]

Total federal spending in Marshall County for salaries and benefits of federal employees, military personnel, procurement contracts, and federal grants was $49.874 million in 2005. Federal spending decreased by 2010 to $48.996 million. When adjusted for inflation, federal spending in Marshall County in 2010 was equivalent to $43.882 million in constant 2005 dollars; thus, there was a real decline of 12% in federal spending over the five year period. These Totals include expenditures of federal funds through local governments or organizations as well as federal grant funds distributed by state government to county residents and local governments.[iv]

Business Efficiency

Job creation and changes in net employment are measures that can be used to assess business efficiency within the county. During 2012, Marshall County had a net gain of 138 jobs. There were 446 new jobs created during that period[v]. Average new hire earnings in 2012 were reported at $3,328 per month exceeding the statewide figure for average new hire earnings which is at $2,340.

Total employment varies month to month; however, total employment in Marshall County increased   from 2007 to 2012. Total employment during the 4th quarter of 2012 was 10.6% higher than in 2007 – and increase of 999 jobs over the five year period.

Business Diversity

 A measure of business diversity within the county is reflected in the types of jobs available. Overall, the relative type of employment in Marshall County has remained quite stable over the period 2007 to 2012. Private wage and salary workers make up 81% to 82% of the workforce and about 15% of all workers are government employees. The self-employed make up 3% to 4% of all workers in Marshall County.[i] There has been little change in the diversity of types of jobs in recent years – see Chart 9.

Chart 9 | Click for larger view.
Chart 9 | Click for larger view.


Cultivating Entrepreneurship

Little information is available from secondary data sets that allows for measurement of local entrepreneurial activity within Marshall County. One indicator of possible entrepreneurship is the number of persons who are self-employed in their own business. This number has increased over the five year period of 2007 to 2012 from 459 to 490 persons. Self-employed persons made up 3.7% of the workforce in 2012.[ii]

The positive statistical indicators related to financial capital are reflected in the community survey responses where some improved level of confidence in local capacity related to financial investments was noted in the 2013 survey. Community residents responding to the survey believe good business ideas would be supported by local banks and there is increasing belief that local businesses are doing well.


Environmental Capital in Marshall County

Sustainable Healthy Ecosystems with Multiple Community Benefits

County level information about the environment is available from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.  In 2006, Marshall County industrial sites released 15,364,120 pounds of toxic chemical waste into the environment according to U. S. EPA databases. This was 15% of all toxic chemical releases into the environment in the state.

Chart 10 | Click for larger view.
Chart 10 | Click for larger view.

By 2012, the total toxic chemical releases declined to 4,127,307 lbs representing 10.4% of the state total. The total pounds of toxic chemicals released into the environment dropped significantly in 2007 and chemical releases have been relatively stable over the past several years (see Chart 10).[i]

Responses to the community survey indicate that local people tend to believe the quality of air and water are important considerations in planning for local development and local people treasure their natural surroundings. Although there was some concern expressed about practices of local industries, the level of environmental capital present in Marshall County is perceived by local residents as a relative strength for the county.


Appendix A – Methodology and Technical Information

A Capacity Assessment Framework was used as the basis for constructing the community profile. The framework is based on a community capitals model and it addresses levels of capacity – that is stores of capital- that might be drawn upon to improve local conditions.  Seven domains or “areas of influence” effecting community capacity were adapted from work done by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development at Iowa State University.  To the extent possible, measures for each domain were selected from relevant existing databases and these selected measures are discussed in the profile. The community profile discusses current conditions in the context of five capitals, seven domains and defined indicator areas that say something significant about each of the domains of interest. This framework is included as Appendix B.


Compiled and published information at the level useful for local assessment and planning is very limited for some areas of influence that determine local community conditions and capacity. Consequently, domains relating to social capital, cultural capital, and environmental capital are more difficult to measure using existing data sets.

Local citizens in Marshall County completed the same web-based community survey in 2013 that was used in 2008 in order to secure information about how they see their community and identify (from the perspective of the survey respondents) areas where local capacity appears to be present. Detailed survey responses and capacity scores were discussed in a separate report.


Appendix B – Framework for Assessing Community Conditions and Local Capacity

Capacity Domains (Areas of Influence)

Indicator Areas

Human Capital

1.  Health and Well-Being of Local People 1(a) Healthy People

1(b) Community Safety

1(c) Family Stability

1(d) Economic Security

1(e) Housing Market Conditions

2.  Skills, Knowledge, and Ability of Local People 2(a) Using Skills, Knowledge, Abilities

2(b) Enhancing  Skills, Knowledge, Abilities

School Readiness

Educational Attainment & Access

2(c) Citizen Engagement

2(d) Data-driven Decision Making

Social Capital

3.  Relationships and Interpersonal Communication 3(a) Shared Values

3(b) Participation

3(c) Internal Connectedness

3(d) External Connectedness

3(e) Trust

3(f) Ability to Solve Problems

4.  Community Initiative, Responsibility, and        Adaptability 4(a) Shared Vision

4(b) Leadership

4(c) Planning

4(d) Building on Local Resources

4(e) Seeking alternative ways to improve

4(f) Sense of Hope

Cultural Capital

5.  Cultural Diversity and Quality of Life 5(a) Heritage

5(b) Arts

5(c) Recreation

5(c) Spirituality

Financial and Manufactured Capital

6.  Investments in Community and Financial Resources 6(a) Financial Investments

6(b) Local Financial Resources

6(c) Access to Outside Financial Resources

6(d) Resource Mobilization

6(e) Business Efficiency

6(f)  Business Diversity

6(g) Cultivating Entrepreneurship

6(h) Community Resident Assets

6(i)  Community Infrastructure

Environmental (Natural) Capital

7.  Sustainable, Healthy Ecosystems with Multiple Community Benefits 7(a) Air Quality

7(b) Water Resources

7(c) Biodiversity

7(d) Soil

7(e) Landscape (sense of place)

7(f) Ecosystem Knowledge and Appreciation

End Notes

[1]US Bureau of the Census – ACS estimates 2007-11.

[2]A household includes all of the people who occupy a housing unit while a family is defined as a householder and one or more other people living in the same household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. Not all households contain families since a household may be a group of unrelated people or one person living alone

[3]WV Bureau for Public Health, Health Statistics Center – Behavioral Risk Factors Survey 2007-11.

[4]WV Bureau for Public Health, Health statistics Center –Vital Statistics.

[5]Incident Based Reporting System, WV State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Section, 2012.

[6]US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[7]US Bureau of the Census, ACS 3 year averages, 2005-07 and 2010-12.

[8]US Bureau of the Census, ACS 2010-12 3 year estimates.

[9]US Bureau of the Census, ACS 2010-12 3 year estimates.

[10]  Reynolds, AJ, Temple, JA, Robertson, DL, & Mann, EA. (2001) Long Term effects of an early childhood intervention on educational achievement and juvenile arrest: A 15 year follow-up study of low income children in public schools. Journal of the American Medical Association. 285:2339-23246 and Craig Ramey (1999), Early Learning, Later Success:  The Abecedarian Study.  Chapel Hill, NC: Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center.

[11]WV Department of Education enrollment statistics.

[12]US Bureau of the Census, ACS 2005-07 and 2010-12 3 year estimates.

[13]WV Department of Education – NCLB Report Card for Marshall County.

[14]US Bureau of the Census, ACS 2010-12 – 3 year estimates.

[15]US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis- Table CA05N, Personal income by major source of earnings.

[16]West Virginia Secretary of State Business Registration Database.

[17]US Bureau of the Census – USA Counties, Banking.

[18]US Department of Commerce –Bureau of Economic Analysis, Table CA30. Total wages and salaries (BEA-CA30) divided by number of persons in labor force (ACS 3 yr. estimates)

[19]US Bureau of the Census, ACS 2005-07 and 2010-12 3 year estimates.

[20]US Department of Commerce-Bureau for Economic Analysis, Table CA30.

[21]Consolidated Federal Funds Report for fiscal years 2005 and 2010.

[22]US Census Bureau – Quarterly Workforce Indicators for calendar year 2012.

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