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How to Get Paid to Move to West Virginia in (2024)

Are you finding it hard to make ends meet where you live and thinking about relocating to a new state?

You’re not alone! In fact, many full-time workers out there are looking for new jobs and career opportunities in new states all the time, and are willing to move for the right offer. But did you know that other states will pay you to move to them, including West Virginia?

If you are interested in moving to The Mountain State, this guide will show you everything you need to know about their relocation incentive programs and whether it’s the right step for you!

Can You Get Paid to Move to West Virginia?

Straight and simple, yes! You can actually get paid to move to West Virginia with the help of the Ascend West Virginia program.

The Ascend WV program is a paid relocation fund supported by West Virginia native Brad Smith, who offered the government a $25 million grant for launching the program.

The program offers a chance for remote workers to relocate to West Virginia in exchange for various benefits, including

  • $12,000 cash reward with no strings attached.
  • A year of unlimited access to the great outdoors of West Virginia (public lands only).
  • Free access to various outdoor gear rentals.
  • Free outdoor recreation welcome trip

Keep in mind that applicants to this program must live within an assigned community. The program’s first relocation town was Morgantown. However, new waves of the program include new towns and regions, such as Greenbrier Valley and Lewisburg.

The applicant should also meet some additional eligibility requirements, such as age and the ability to relocate within six months.

How Much Can You Make Moving to West Virginia?

The financial incentives that come with the Ascend WV program are one of the highest among paid relocation programs. However, the exact amount of money you can make depends on a variety of factors.

Upon relocating, you’ll get an instant relocation reward of $12,000. Yet, you’ll also earn various benefits that can greatly add to the final package.

For instance, according to the Ascend WV website, you’ll get a complimentary outdoor-focused welcome trip valued at around $2,500 alone, which adds up to your package.

Additionally, if you’re an outdoorsy person who likes to hike and camp a lot, you can save a lot of money through the free rental bonus that comes with the package.

Not only that, but you can also save a lot of money living in West Virginia, as the cost of living in the state is also relatively low.

Are There Tax Benefits to Moving to West Virginia?

Despite its attractive relocation program, West Virginia isn’t the best place to move to if you’re looking for a low-tax state.

According to the Tax Foundation, The Mountain State has a personal income tax ranging gradually from 3% to 6.5%. It also has a corporate flat tax rate of 6.5%.

Besides income tax, West Virginia has a state sales tax rate of 6% along with an additional local tax rate of up to 1%.

In other words, West Virginia is only a good option if you have a relatively low to medium income.

Places in West Virginia That Pay You To Move

Now that you know more about West Virginia’s incentive programs, you might be wondering where to live there. In this section, we’ll check out some of the best locations in the state that would pay you to move.

New River Gorge area

The New River Gorge area is one of the latest additions to Ascend WV-eligible areas. The community at New River Gorge made a name for itself as one of the best locations among outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

If you’re all about outdoor activities, you’re actually going to love it there. This is because it features thousands of mountain climbing routes as well as hundreds of mountain bike trails. Additionally, it has over 110 paddling on the nearby Gauley and New Rivers

How Much You Can Make

The New River Gorge area is classified among the locations eligible for relocation benefits. This means that you can make around $12,000 as a relocation bonus by moving there.

Additionally, since the town is an excellent destination for outdoor lovers, you’ll enjoy plenty of services and privileges that would have otherwise cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars!

What Makes This Option Great

As you now know, the New River Gorge area is ideal for anyone who likes to spend time on recreational activities.

This is because the region is home to the New River Gorge National Park, one of America’s rock climbing capitals!

Additionally, since it’s a new addition to Ascend WV’s eligible areas, it can accept many new applicants.

Morgantown Area

Next up, we have Morgantown, which was one of the pilot areas of the Ascend WV program when it was first established in 2021.

Morgantown is one of the most vibrant college towns in West Virginia. The small town has a population of a little under 30,000 but continues to grow year after year.

One of the best things about this small community is how incredibly versatile it can be. The city offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation but also has a small tech boom with several small companies investing in the region.

How Much You Can Make

The growing popularity in Morgantown improved its average wages significantly, according to a recent report by ZipRecruiter.

In fact, the average salary in the Morgantown Area is around $52,644 and up to $95,029. This translates to an average hourly rate of $25, which is decent by the city’s standards and cost of living!

What Makes This Option Great

Morgantown Area is an excellent spot to consider moving to if you want to benefit from West Virginia’s paid relocation.

This is because the small town has a thriving community with a wide range of new businesses and investments.

This doesn’t only mean improved quality of life but also means a wider range of employment opportunities.

Besides the financial aspect, the town also has a remarkable art scene and many museums and exhibitions to explore.

Additionally, the small town is an ideal relocation spot for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. For instance, Morgantown Area is home to around 1,400 rock climbing routes, 200 mountain bike trails, and over 90 paddling runs

Eastern Panhandle

The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia is one of The Mountain State’s hidden gems. The region is located just a short drive from Washington, D.C., and includes three West Virginia counties.

This region is known for the stunning scenery that offers a perfect backdrop for its small towns as well as endless opportunities for enjoying outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, mountain biking, paddling, and much more!

The variety of outdoor and indoor recreation activities in the Eastern Panhandle makes it a versatile choice for a huge variety of relocating workers.

How Much You Can Make

Like other locations eligible for the Ascend WV program, a relocating worker will get an instant $12,000 cash bonus. However, depending on your job, you can extend your annual earnings significantly.

In fact, a recent report by Data USA shows that the median household income in Berkeley County of the Eastern Panhandle is around $65,286, which is fairly higher than the annual mean wage of the state ($49,170).

What Makes This Option Great

As previously established, the Eastern Panhandle is a highly underrated region with plenty of outdoor landmarks to explore.

Additionally, the arts and culture scene in its cities is thriving thanks to the influx of new younger residents. The region also has new development projects and festivals popping up all the time.

Moreover, the Appalachian Trail runs right through the region, which is perfect for hiking, backpacking, camping, and more!

Jobs in West Virginia That Pay You To Move

If you want to find out more about paid relocation job opportunities in West Virginia, this section will have you covered.

Here are some of the most in-demand jobs that the West Virginian market has and what makes them great options.


Healthcare professionals are in a general shortage across the nation. However, the demand for nurses across different states varies considerably.

Nurses, especially qualified ones with degrees, can work in a variety of settings in West Virginia. These include both hospitals and clinics as well as long-term care facilities.

According to a recent report, West Virginia’s demand for nurses is expected to grow over the next few years. For that reason, many employers authorize relocation benefits to attract more nurses to the state.

How Much You Can Make

Nurses’ pay can vary significantly depending on several aspects. These include where they work, the hourly rates where they live, and whether they do overtime.

In West Virginia, a registered nurse with 1 to 3 years of experience can make around $61.53 per hour.

Some Ascend WV-eligible areas like Morgantown offer a slightly higher hourly rate of around $64.96 per hour.

What Makes This Option Great

Since nurses are always in high demand, becoming a registered nurse in West Virginia means stable employment and plenty of hiring opportunities.

Additionally, nurses in West Virginia often get extra benefits like overtime bonuses and 401(k) plans.

Production Worker

Production workers are currently in demand in West Virginia. The state is home to several manufacturing plants for products like processed foods and tobacco.  

As these manufacturing plants expand into new facilities, the demand for new production workers increases. This is necessary for both operating machines and assembling final products.

How Much You Can Make

The average annual income of a production worker is around $37,649. However, the exact salary depends on various aspects, such as the level of skills necessary for the job.

In fact, top production workers in West Virginia can earn up to $47,000 or more, depending on the field they work in and their experience.

What Makes This Option Great

One of the main advantages of being a production worker is that it doesn’t require higher education.

Additionally, the demand for production workers is expected to grow over the following years. As a result, there’s always a variety of employment opportunities in the state with many of them offering paid relocation with attractive packages.

Construction Superintendent

Construction superintendents are professionals who oversee the daily operations of construction projects. The core responsibility of construction superintendents is to ensure everything is running smoothly.

This includes working within a budget, finishing on schedule, and managing the workforce to complete the project.

Keep in mind that the job also goes by other names, such as “construction manager”, “masonry superintendent”, and more.

How Much You Can Make

As a construction superintendent in West Virginia, you should expect an average annual wage of around $84,723.

Although this is around 8% lower than the national average, you should keep in mind that West Virginia’s cost of living is also quite low. But more about that in the following sections.

What Makes This Option Great

There are various reasons why being a construction manager in West Virginia is a good idea. For starters, the job has a remarkable level of flexibility and variety that makes it always exciting.

Also, it has plenty of transferable skills if you want to shift to a different career in the future. These include leadership, problem-solving, and analytical skills. Moreover, it offers high job security with various non-cash benefits, such as 401(k) plans.

Why You Should Consider Moving to West Virginia

Now that you know more about moving to West Virginia, you might be hesitant about whether it’s the right move. In this section, you’ll find the top five reasons people consider moving to West Virginia to help you seal the deal!

1. Low Cost of Living

One of the main reasons why a lot of workers are moving to West Virginia is the low cost of living.

In fact, The Mountain State has consistently topped the charts as the most affordable state in America over the years.

As a result, West Virginia residents’ relatively low salaries allow them to buy a variety of goods, both essential and non-essential.

Remote workers who are paid higher salaries can also opt for West Virginia’s small communities for better financial status.

2. Highly Affordable Housing and Real Estate

The housing market in the United States is becoming incredibly high, with the national average house costing as high as $495,600 in 2023.

However, housing in West Virginia is a lot lower than the national average, with average small-town houses costing as little as $118,581.

This is only twice the median household income in the state, which means that West Virginia relocation workers can easily become homeowners there.

3. Plenty of Benefits Besides the Large Cash Bonus

The Ascend WV is one of the most lucrative and unique relocation programs out there, not only because it offers a massive cash bonus, but because it’s optimized to offer unique benefits, such as:

  • A dedicated workspace in West Virginia’s mountain towns.
  • The ability to earn remote work certifications through local universities and colleges like West Virginia University.
  • Invitations to various networking and social events

4. Endless Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation

Besides the non-cash benefits of the Ascend WV program, it offers free access to public outdoor parks, which is perfect for those with a knack for exploration and adventure!

The state is home to thousands of national parks, climbing routes, paddling drives, and beautiful scenery.

5. Simple Eligibility Requirements for Remote Workers

Lastly, despite the lucrative benefits of the Ascend WV program, the requirements for eligibility are usually quite simple.

For instance, the applicants need to be eligible to work in the US, above 18 years old, with a full-time remote job that they can do from within the state.

Is it Cheap to Live in West Virginia?

Yes! In fact, West Virginia is one of the most affordable states to live in. According to a recent report by RentCafe, the state’s average cost of living is around 8% cheaper than the national average.

Not only that, but the housing market in West Virginia is even more affordable at around 20% lower than the national average, whether you’re buying or renting.

This also applies to other necessary expenses, such as groceries, food, utilities, healthcare as well as other goods and services. Many non-essential expenses are also quite cheap, such as personal and pet grooming, entertainment, etc.

The priciest aspect in Virginia is transportation, which is around 13% higher than the national average.

This can have a major impact on your monthly costs if you commute to work. Luckily, however, this shouldn’t be a problem for remote workers relocating through the Ascend WV program.

What is a Livable Salary in West Virginia?

The livable wage in West Virginia varies from one place to another. It also depends on other factors like the size of your family and your lifestyle choices.

For example, a single person in Kanawha County has a livable wage of around $15.32 per hour. On the other hand, the livable hourly wage of the same person living in a smaller county (such as Lincoln County), would be $14.78.

As you can notice, the livable salary in West Virginia is generally pretty low. In fact, this is one of the main advantages of living there!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you finding the idea of becoming a West Virginian resident an appealing idea and have extra questions? Here are answers to some of the most common questions that some new residents might have in mind.

Is There a $20,000 Incentive to Move to West Virginia?

The short answer to this question is yes. West Virginia has a program known as “cash-for-worker” that pays workers $20,000 to move to the state. However, you should know that $20,000 is the total relocation package, which includes cash rewards and other benefits.
According to a recent report by the official West Virginia website, the program accepted applications from 33 workers in its second wave in 2022 and is currently within the application review step of its third wave.

What Is the Top 1% Income in West Virginia?

CNBC recently released a report detailing what the top 1% in each state earns. According to the report, the 1% in West Virginia earn an average annual income of $374,712.
This report shows that West Virginia has one of the lowest top 1% income thresholds across all American states. On the other hand, Connecticut has the highest top 1% income threshold with an average annual income of around $955,261.

Similar Locations to Consider

Although West Virginia has an excellent paid relocation program, it’s not the only state out there with such an offer. Here are some of the most popular alternative options to consider if you’re looking for a fresh start.

  • Get Paid to Move to Georgia: Georgia is one of the largest agricultural states in the United States. Since 2019, the state has offered a remarkable relocation program called Relocation Assistance Program (RAP). Check out this guide to find out more about it.
  • Get Paid to Move to Arkansas: The Natural State also offers a variety of opportunities for people to relocate to the state. These programs include various forms of incentives, including cash rewards, free bikes, and much more.
  • Get Paid to Move to Alaska: The Last Frontier has had a well-established relocation program since the late 80s. The Permanent Fund Dividend offers annual returns of anywhere between $1,000 to $3,000 or more to Alaskan residents.

Wrapping Up

With that said, our guide about getting paid to move to west virginia and why you should consider moving there comes to an end.

As you can see, moving to The Mountain State can be fairly easy and provide tons of opportunities to enjoy West Virginia’s beautiful outdoors.

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