James DeBlasio has lived all 88 of his years in southern Lawrence County, where he’s a longtime Taylor Township supervisor and has seen many of the people he grew up with move away or die — with no young people coming in to replace them.
Like most of rural Western Pennsylvania, and the non-urban sections of West Virginia and eastern Ohio as well, his is an area where census counts and estimates have noted a population decline due to multiple factors that appear hard to reverse.
The trends have been especially rough in Taylor, which experienced a 13.6 percent population decline between 2000 and 2010. Of its 1,052 residents, more than twice as many are over age 65 as under age 18. That ratio is practically unheard of among municipalities and doesn’t bode well for the township’s future.
“I don’t think there’s been a new house built here in 10 years, maybe longer,” Mr. DeBlasio noted.